Wednesday, November 22, 2017

My 2018 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

The 2018 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot has been released and there are quite a few interesting names on it as newcomers. To name a few of the newcomers we have Johan Santana, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Jamie Moyer and Andruw Jones. Let’s take a look at the complete ballot and decide who I would vote for if I had a vote with the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Here is the complete 2018 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot:

Johan Santana
Chipper Jones
Barry Bonds
Chris Carpenter
Roger Clemens
Johnny Damon
Vladimir Guerrero
Livan Hernandez
Trevor Hoffman
Orlando Hudson
Aubrey Huff
Jason Isringhausen
Andruw Jones
Jeff Kent
Carlos Lee
Brad Lidge
Edgar Martinez
Hideki Matsui (homer alert… as this is all hypothetical)
Fred McGriff
Kevin Millwood
Jamie Moyer
Mike Mussina
Manny Ramirez
Scott Rolen
Curt Schilling
Gary Sheffield
Sammy Sosa
Jim Thome
Omar Vizquel
Billy Wagner
Larry Walker
Kerry Wood
Carlos Zambrano

BOLDED players receive my vote, capped at ten votes per ballot.

Thanksgiving…THANKS for GIVING us Otani? I hope!…

Much to be thankful for…

As Thanksgiving approaches, we have much to be thankful for this year. The Yankees clearly exceeded our expectations and they appear to be on the cusp of another great dynasty run.  It wasn’t that long ago that the Yankees were called an old team  with bare cupboards.  Thanks to GM Brian Cashman and his team, the MLB roster is loaded, the farm system is fully restocked and the future is excessively bright. I am grateful for the leadership of the Yankees and I am very excited about the upcoming seasons. 

So, New York Yankees, THANK YOU!

Hot Stove League simmering...

Aside from Monday’s flurry of activity as the Yankees worked rapidly to finalize the 40-man Roster of Record for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, it has been a very quiet week.  

Tuesday evening saw the MLBPA and Nippon Professional Baseball reach a tentative agreement on a new posting system to cover this off-season and the next three years. The MLB owners must still ratify the new agreement which should occur next Friday, December 1st. It is expected that Shohei Otani will be posted on Saturday, December 2nd, and MLB teams will have three weeks to sign the Japanese superstar. So, by this time next month, we should know whether or not Otani will be wearing Pinstripes in 2018. All I want for Christmas is Shohei Otani in the Yankees starting rotation…with bat in hand for his off days!  

Credit:  Masterpress/Getty Images
This off-season it feels like teams are raiding the Yankees. We’ve seen the Miami Marlins snag the Yankees VP of Player Personnel (Gary Denbo) and the Houston Astros grabbed Yankees third base coach Joe Espada to be their new bench coach replacing Alex Cora (who was named the new manager of the Boston Red Sox).  The Red Sox have also indirectly caused the latest departure from the organization.  When Boston named Ron Roenicke as their new bench coach for Cora’s staff, it created an opening on the Los Angeles Angels coaching staff.  Roenicke had been the third base coach for the Angels last year.  Angels bench coach Dino Abel was moved to third base to replace Roenicke and the Angels hired Yankees minor league coordinator Josh Paul, credited with the development of Gary Sanchez, to be their new bench coach under manager Mike Scioscia. When the Yankees parted ways with manager Joe Girardi, Paul’s name was quickly mentioned as a possible replacement but he was never formally interviewed. I assume that he was a possibility for the new Yankee manager’s coaching staff but he took the ‘sure thing’ with the opportunity to be the bench coach for the Angels where he’ll be reunited with his former boss, GM Billy Eppler. I am sorry to see Paul go given how highly he was thought of within the Yankees organization but you can’t fault the guy for seeking advancement. He’s positioning himself to ensure that he does get the next managerial interview.  

Credit:  Reinhold Matay, USA TODAY Sports
Dellin Betances was caught on record this week while participating with a turkey giveaway in the Bronx.  He gave an endorsement for Rob Thomson as the next Yankees manager.  “A lot of guys like to work with him.”  I hate to read into anything but “a lot” is not “everyone”.  I still prefer Thomson as a member of the coaching staff as opposed to its leader.  But I am not so strongly opposed to Thomson that I’d be disappointed if he is named manager.  Support by the majority of the team is a huge positive.

All Rise except Judge (he can keep his arm down)...

The Yankees announced that Aaron Judge underwent shoulder surgery earlier this week (“loose-body removal and cartilage clean-up”). It doesn’t sound too severe and Judge is expected to be ready when camp opens in Tampa next February.  The scariest part of the announcement was the surgeon…Dr Neal ElAttrache, the noted “Tommy John” surgeon and the team physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Dr ElAttrache is the surgeon who performed the TJ surgery on former Yankees prospect James Kaprielian. 

Credit:  Barbara Davidson, Los Angeles Times
Happy Recovery to Aaron!  We’re looking forward to seeing him at 100% next Spring (okay, 99% works in his case).

Pitching his way to Sunny and 75…

Yankees prospect RHP Colten Brewer has signed a minor league free agent deal with the San Diego Padres. Brewer was only in the Yankees system for a year. He had been claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system last December. Brewer, 25, did well at A/AA this year but couldn’t continue the success when he reached Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In six appearances for the RailRiders covering ten innings, he gave up 17 hits and 13 earned runs (11.70 ERA). 

The Yankees Dream didn’t work out for Brewer but we wish him the best in San Diego.

Credit:  Martin Griff
Did they used to work for us?  Yikes!…

I do not blame the Yankees organization but it is a black mark that former Atlanta Braves GM John Coppolella received a lifetime ban from MLB for his involvement in the fraudulent international signings scandal perpetrated by the Braves. Atlanta’s former head of scouting Gordon Blakeley received a one year suspension. Both Coppolella and Blakeley have their roots with the Yankees organization. Coppolella was an intern during the George Steinbrenner regime. Blakeley was a former Yankees scout credited for signing Robinson Cano, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, and Jose Contreras. 

I am not blaming the Yankees for the actions of their former employees but admittedly, after their crimes, I wish they had been former Red Sox employees  (or some other team) as opposed to the Yankees.  However, I am sure the example set with the Braves and the penalties they’ve suffered will cause all teams to button up their processes for international signings.  

I have great respect for new Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos but he has his hands full…no doubt an understatement.  

Latest Yankees Managerial Candidate…

If outgoing WFAN host Mike Francesa is going to toss his name into the ring as a potential manager for the Yankees, I’ll throw one out…Bryan Van Dusen, co-owner of The Greedy Pinstripes!  The guy knows how to communicate with players and he loves statistical analysis.  Plus, he is a devout Yankees fan and has shown the ability to address the media in a highly effective manner.  Sounds like he checks all the boxes to me.  

Van Dusen for Yankees Manager!

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Go Yankees!

Meet a Prospect: Juan Then

We have already met this young man’s former teammate with the Seattle Mariners in JP Sears so let’s meet the other arm that the New York Yankees acquired in a trade this week when they sent Nick Rumbelow and his 40-man roster spot west. His name is Juan Then, imagine the “Then and Now” jokes this guy is going to have to endure as he climbs the ranks within the Yankees system, and he is an arm that I am personally really excited to watch grow and progress. This is Meet a Prospect: The Juan Then and Now Edition.

Then is just 17-years old and was signed as an international free agent by the Seattle Mariners back on July 2, 2016. Now before writing this post I knew absolutely nothing about Then but I do know that the best of the best in terms of international free agents tend to get signed immediately as the international signing period opens up annually on July 2. Then signed as a 16-year old, usually another sign that the prospect has shown potential, in 2016 for just $77,000.

Then made his professional debut in 2017 in the Dominican Summer League posting a 20-2 record with a 2.64 ERA. Then made 13 starts for the DSL Mariners striking out 56 batters in 61.1 innings while holding opposing batters to just a .220 batting average against which was good for a 1.06 WHIP.

Then has a pitcher’s build standing at 6’1” and weighing in at 155 lbs. as a right-handed starter. Then has a lot of time and a lot of room to grow into his frame as he matures and gets older, which is scary when you consider that Then is already throwing in the low 90 MPH range with his fastball. Then also has a changeup and a second breaking ball that he will have to develop if he wants to be a starting pitcher long-term with the team.

Then has a lot of potential to be a great arm and addition for the Yankees and I personally look forward to watching him progress over the course of the next few seasons. Welcome to the organization, Juan, and also welcome to the Yankees family. 

Meet a Prospect: JP Sears

The New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners also pulled off a trade prior to the Rule 5 Draft deadline as New York sent RHP Nick Rumbelow to the Mariners for a pair of pitching prospects, JP Sears and Juan Then. Let’s meet them one at a time starting with Sears. This is Meet a Prospect: The JP Sears Edition.

JP Sears is a 21-year old left-handed pitcher that the Seattle Mariners drafted in the 11th round in this year’s MLB First Year Players Draft out of The Citadel. While at The Citadel Sears pitched to a 17-15 record with a 2.98 ERA while compiling 317 strikeouts in just 253 innings. Sears played in 46 games while at The Citadel starting all but four of them. As a polished college arm you would think that Sears could potentially be a quick mover through the Yankees system while giving them some depth once the likes of Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield graduate to the Major League level.

Sears did appear in 17 games after being drafted this season as a relief pitcher striking out 51 batters in 28 innings pitched. Sears is not a big guy, he is just one inch taller than Sonny Gray at 5’11”, and his fastball barely touches 90 MPH meaning that Sears relies heavily on deception, command and control of his secondary pitches that include an average curveball and a changeup that sets up his fastball.

Sears is not going to appear on any Top 10 prospects list any time soon, although he was the Mariners 21st best prospect in their farm system at the time of the trade, but I think that the lefty could still be useful. He reminds me a lot of a raw Luis Cessa or Chad Green in the way that many won’t be raving about his addition but in a couple years we may be all thankful that the trade happened. Brian Cashman has a sneaky way of making that happen a lot lately.

Win, lose or draw the Yankees cleared a 40-man roster spot and added two live arms to the organization so it’s hard to be upset about that. We’re rooting for you JP, welcome to the family. 

Meet a Prospect: Reiver Sanmartin

We all watched as the New York Yankees were extremely active before the deadline to protect prospects in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft. The Yankees made many moves over the course of a couple days clearing spots for the likes of Gleyber Torres, Thairo Estrada and others to be added to the 40-man roster at the expense of young players like Ronald Herrera who was sent to the Texas Rangers in exchange for A-Ball pitcher Reiver Sanmartin. Let’s meet the man that was brought over in the trade late in the evening on Monday. This is Meet a Prospect: The Reiver Sanmartin Edition.

Sanmartin is a left-handed starting pitcher that was signed as an international free agent out of Columbia by the Texas Rangers at just 19-years old. Sanmartin spent his first two professional seasons in the Dominican Summer League before making the big jump to the United States here in 2017 stopping at two affiliates for the Rangers.

In 32 minor league games, 23 of them as a starting pitcher, Sanmartin has compiled a 14-4 record with a 2.62 ERA along with 119 strikeouts in 137.2 innings pitched. Sanmartin sits at about 88-92 MPH on his fastball while complimenting that pitch with what is considered to be an average changeup and slider. All signs point to Sanmartin being a bullpen arm if and when he reaches the Major League level, and that’s okay if you’re the Yankees.

Most importantly for New York is that Sanmartin will not need protection from the Rule 5 Draft until this time next season. Worry about that when the time comes, until then welcome Sanmartin to the organization and to the Yankees family. Enjoy your stay and make us proud. 

So it Seems… Happy Thanksgiving

Good morning everyone, I hope everyone reading this is well. I know Thanksgiving isn’t technically until tomorrow but there will be no guarantees that I will be around then so I wanted to go ahead and send my warm wishes to you all today instead. Happy Thanksgiving to all reading who celebrate, and to everyone else… just enjoy your day.

May your day be filled with love, friends, family, food, football or whatever could possibly make this day special to you. Enjoy and remember, those $1.50 towels at Wal Mart and those “cheap” TV’s aren’t worth it people. They aren’t. Enjoy your day and thank you for your continued support of the blog.

Especially you. Hey you. I loves you. Everything I am is because of you so everything I am thankful for begins and ends with you. You are at the center of everything, you are my universe. You are my soul. You are my heart. I love you. 

Happy 4th Birthday to My Boy, Hayden

What else can I say that I don’t already say every single day about this kid? This kid is my heart and my pride and joy along with my other son, Evan, and while he wasn’t exactly part of the plan he was the best decision I never made. So today is your day little guy, Happy 4th birthday from Dad, Kari, Evan, Jacob, Brianna and everyone here at The Greedy Pinstripes. Enjoy your day kiddo. Dad loves you.