Saturday, March 31, 2012

MIchael Pineda MRI Results

EDIT: Pineda's labrum and rotator cuff are fine, so he'll be shut down for 10-15 days and go from there.

The results are in and Michael Pineda has shoulder inflammation tendinitis and will be placed on the 15 day DL. Could have been a whole lot worse so we all need to take a sigh of relief.

Yankees starting rotation looks as follows

CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Ivan Nova
Freddy Garcia
Phil Hughes

Source : @MarcCarig on Twitter

Spring Training 3/31/12

Today the Yankees play the Houston Astros down in Osceola County Stadium. Here is today's lineup for this last day in March.

Eduardo Nunez 3B
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira DH
Raul Ibanez RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Chris Dickerson LF
Doug Bernier SS
Jose Gil 1B
RHP Adam Warren

Pineda, Cabral, and Rotation Updates

Thankfully Pineda isn't suffering from a serious injury, as it's just shoulder inflammation tendinitis. That did lead the team to place Pineda on the DL, so the team will be without their shiny new toy for about two weeks into the season.

Not sure if this injury made the decision for Girardi or not, but the Opening Day rotation has been set. We heard that CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda would start games 1 and 2, and now we learn that the rest of the rotation will be Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, and Freddy Garcia.

Speaking of boo-boos, Cesar Cabral is said to have a "significant injury". He was seen wearing a sling last night. That's too bad for Cesar who may have been in MLB this season, but it looks like that spot will go to Clay Rapada (not a bad consolation prize for Yankee fans). Fortunately Cabral is young (23), and has plenty of time to make a mark on the game. We just hope that he can bounce back from this injury, as Rule V rules would carry over to 2013 if we don't see him again in 2012.

World Series Winner Told Here

With the Yankees this close to the regular season and spring being over I decided I would throw my hat in the predictions ring of division winners, wild card winners, and playoff winners. SO here we go.

AL East : (1)New York Yankees (Shocker)
AL Central : (2)Detroit Tigers (Shocker)
AL West : (3)Los Angeles Angels (of whatever)
Wild Card #1 : (4)Tampa Bay Rays
Wild Card #2 : (drum roll please) (5)Kansas City Royals!!!!!

The Royals have a ton of young guys that are just posed to have break out and monster seasons. When that happens all at once you get this one year wonder team that runs through everybody but falters in September, see the Padres a couple years back. If the Padres had that second wild card team though , without looking at the standings to really see, I bet they would have still made the playoffs. Go Kansas City in 2012. Also, yes I do realize I left the Buffalo Bills of Baseball, the Texas Rangers, out of the playoffs. 
NL East : (1)Philadelphia Phillies (until someone says otherwise)
NL Central : (3)St. Louis Cardinals
NL West : (2)Colorado Rockies
Wild Card #1 : (4)Atlanta Braves
Wild Card #2 (5)Washington Nationals

I think both the Eastern divisions are absolutely stacked, but none more then the NL East. Every team besides the Mets have a legitimate shot at winning a division and/or making the playoffs. The problem with that is they are going to have to beat up on each other all season long a lot until the schedules change next season with year round interleague play. I expect a lot out of the Nationals pitching staff this season and expect them to be carried by it. I also expect Jayson Heward and especially Freddy Freeman to carry the Braves to the post season and beyond with monster seasons from both. The Colorado Rockies have a ton of young pitching and I think they will go far in a very weak division. 



Tampa Bay Rays vs Kansas City Royals

The good luck and team that everyone loves goes down here. Everyone roots for the underdog but David Price will be too much for this team.

New York Yankees Vs Tampa Bay Rays

In a short series this worries me as a Yankees fan but if the Yankees pitching staff works out the way we all expect it to then the Rays would potentially have to beat Sabathia twice, Kuroda, Pineda, or a combination of the Nova/Hughes/Pettitte/Garcia combo. Thats just too much in a short series. Yankees win

Detroit Tigers vs Los Angeles Angels Of Disney Land In Orange County Outside Of Anaheim

The Angels pitching will just be too much in this series for the Tigers. The Tigers defense will give away one too many runs and the Angels will prevail. The rally monkey lives!

New York Yankees vs Los Angeles Angels of San Francisco in the good part of town in Covina but not in Oakland because Oakland is a bad part of town.

The Yankees seem to be the team to beat and me, and my very heavily biased opinion, should not be the one to count against that. With a great pitching staff mixed in with a great bullpen the Yankees just need that timely hitting that escaped them in last years playoffs. The Yankees will win this series but this should be the series of the century so far. You're four best vs our four best and let us see who's bullpen falters first. If it comes down to a Jordan Walden vs Mariano Rivera battle... I cannot pick against us.


Atlanta Braves vs Washington Nationals.

Stephen Strasburgh vs Tim Hudson (assuming health). As much as my gut tells me the Nationals would run all over this team it is a totally different ball game when it is the playoffs and the Nats have never been there. Braves win reluctantly.

Philadelphia Phillies vs Atlanta Braves

Until someone knocks them off their perch I dont see how you could pick against the Phillies here... unless you're me. The Braves will knock off the Phillies in a hell of a 7 game series and continue the Phillies "super team " failures. The curse of Roy Halladay is born, lol.

Colorado Rockies vs. St Louis Cardinals

This is so hard to predict because we do not know how Adam Wainwright is going to come back and we do not know IF Cris Carpenter is going to be back. We also do not know how Drew Pomeranz is going to pitch this season so I am going to take a wild shot in the dark and use depth and pitching as a reason that the Cardinals win here. I also expect Roy Oswalt to be a Cardinal by the time this all happens so that helps.

Atlanta Braves vs St Louis Cardinals

I really think the Braves are going to be a special team this season with just way too much pitching to lose this time around. I expect the Cardinals to put up a fight, maybe even into a 6th game, but ultimately I expect the Braves to be National League Champions.

So much for this new playoff system HURTING the wild card teams huh?


New York Yankees vs Atlanta Braves

Two teams that have not met in the World Series since the 1999 World Series. This is going to be another dog fight but I think the Angels pitching staff is a little better then the Braves pitching staff so I cannot pick against my Yankees here. #28

Yankees Win!!!! TTTTTHHHHHAAAAA Yankees Win!

Do not get me wrong, I did not expect the Yankees to win the World Series last year. There were many years that I did not expect the Yankees to win the World Series so it is not just because I am a fan and a blogger for them that I expect them to win. I just love this team it has a great mixture of depth, role players, youth, experience, moneyball players, power hitters, and aging guys that would love just one more ring. Yankees or bust in 2012.

Another One Bites The Dust

Cesar Cabral left yesterday's game after pitching an inning with severe pain in his left throwing elbow. He was in a sling when talking to reporters yesterday and will go for an MRI and x rays today. Yesterday's injuries to Cabral and Pineda may have just ended all the competition that we have had this spring.  Hello Clay Rapada.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Super News! /sarcasm

EDIT: I just heard that Pineda was feeling soreness in his shoulder before the game, but didn't tell anybody about it. It probably didn't help that he not only went out and pitched anyway, but that he tried to throw harder too. Perhaps the fact he was still able to throw as many pitches as he did is a good sign, as a bigger injury would have probably made him leave the game sooner.

Well, well, well.

Michael Pineda left today's game against the Phillies after 2.2 innings. Something just didn't seem right about him this evening. For starters, his fastball was "cutting" instead of "tailing". And although he doesn't have the greatest control in MLB, Pineda was all over the place (his BB/9 last season was 2.89, and he walked 3 in those 2.2 innings tonight).

Michael was visibly upset when he left the game, and for good reason as he was booed by those at Steinbrenner Field. And now we learn that he felt soreness in the back of his shoulder. Pineda also admitted to trying to throw harder.

That last line kind of ticks me off.

I mean... why was he trying to throw harder? Sure, his batting average against was a bit high (.283), but the results were still there as he had struck out 16 batters in 16.1 innings, with an ERA of 3.31.

You know what I think? I think all the talk about his velocity, which has been discussed ad nauseum by everybody from baseball writers to the weird guy at work who thinks his comb-over is fooling people, finally got to him. Seattle is not exactly New York, so I have no doubt that all the talk was a bit overwhelming for Pineda. To the point where he finally tried to shut them up by going out there and throwing as hard as he could. And what happens? Injury.

It would be nice if people could finally shut the hell up about his velocity, or lack thereof, and just let the guy pitch. Even at 90% Michael Pineda is a #2 pitcher in MLB, and for that reason I believed he was not going to AAA to start the season. That way he would not only keep getting work in and improving, but he would still be putting the team in a position to win games... something he wouldn't be able to do in AAA.

But now, who knows? I just hope that soreness is not a sign of a bigger problem.

Meet A Prospect... With A Twist

Starting on Monday, April 2nd, our very popular Meet A Prospect posting on the blog will take a little bit of a different role. I do not want to give away too much now but I think that all of the fans are going to be quite happy with the new direction. Check in Monday, April 2nd , to see what it is all about. Get Greedy!

Spring Training 3/30/12

Here is tonight's lineup.. More after the game.

Derek Jeter SS

Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Eric Chavez 1B
Russell Martin C
Andruw Jones DH
Justin Maxwell RF
Brett Gardner LF
RHP Michael Pineda

Who Goes To The Minors?

Whether they are up in arms at the possibility or not, a lot of people have discussed Michael Pineda starting the season in AAA. The main reason seems to revolve around his velocity, or lack thereof. Personally I think the velocity "issue" is overblown, because it's not like he's throwing much lower than he averaged last season. Fangraphs says that Pineda's fastball averaged 94.2 MPH (he throws a cutter that averaged 96.7, and a two-seamer that averaged 95, but he only threw those 2.1% and 4.7% of the time), and so far this spring he's only hit 94 a handful of times while averaging around 91 or 92 (I don't know the breakdown between his general fastball, cutter, and two-seamer this spring).

That's not the only reason people have for thinking he needs a bit more work, as Michael's spring batting average against is .283, while it was .209 during the 2011 season. And Pineda's WHIP has been 1.47 so far this spring, while it was 1.10 last season. Then again, people shouldn't worry about a player's stats in Spring Training. I say as long as a player is getting work in, and does not get hurt, then it's all good.

Phil Hughes can be sent to AAA, but the team seems to be set on giving him another shot at the rotation... something I 100% agree with. So no sense getting into things with Phil.

So has Ivan Nova gotten a free pass here? I mean, it's not like he has the track record of either CC Sabathia or Hiroki Kuroda... two guys that are already set for the rotation. To be more specific, should he be getting a free pass?

It's not like Nova has had a ton more starts in MLB than Pineda, as Ivan has started 34 games and Michael has started 28 (Nova started 7 games in 2010 and 27 in 2011, while all of Pineda's starts came last season). Their total innings pitched in MLB is 207.1 for Nova to 171 for Pineda, so it's not like there's a huge difference there either.

So I went ahead an put together this little chart to compare Pineda and Nova...

You can see that Pineda beats Nova at every category but ERA+. I know I said stats in Spring Training really don't matter, but Ivan does have a 6.86 ERA this spring, due in large part to having given up 5 home runs. So I can't help but wonder if Nova has things to work on, and should therefore be optioned to the minors instead. I mean, at least while Pineda is still working on his velocity and control he may get better results.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Quick Movers In The Yankees Minor League System In 2012

Posted by our good friend, Greg, over at Bronx Daily Baseball. He gives his thoughts on who the "fast movers" could be in the Yankees farm system this year. As always this is a great read on prospects but at this point I expect nothing less from Greg. Enjoy.

This season minor league games will actually begin before the major league games. This is a new and interesting concept, as has not been set up like this for at least the past few seasons. It’s not going to change anything as far as the season goes except that it’s likely Triple-A will end sooner with respect to September call-ups, freeing up more players for the honor. Other than that, it will also mean that we will see players get promoted to the next level at an earlier date this year. This is not groundbreaking, but it just means there will be exciting decisions made sooner.
This article will examine which players the Yankees organization could be sizing up early on for quick promotions. I will pick one for each level, while mentioning some others who could end up quick risers. I will start with the lowest level, which will also be the hardest because it’s very difficult to predict who will even be there to start the season let alone who will be promoted.
The GCL doesn’t start until June 18th, so there is a lot that could happen between now and then that would preempt certain players from even appearing at that level. There could be injuries or promotions before the season even starts. Regardless of that, some players who begin the season in the GCL will be promoted to higher levels.
The easy target is Hayden Sharp, but since I just did an interview with him I’ll choose someone else. One of the other young pitchers expected to start in the GCL this year is Rookie Davis. William “Rookie” Davis was drafted in the 14th Round and is a 6-foot-3, 235-pound right handed pitcher drafted out of high school. He was committed to ECU before signing with the Yankees. Yankees drafted him as a pitcher and last season he went 9-0 with a 1.02 ERA at his high school.  He also struck out 136 in only 61.1 innings. Over his four seasons in high school Davis was 25-4 with a 1.67 ERA and 415 strikeouts in 209.1 innings.
Davis’ fastball gets up to 89-92 mph and can sit 90-91. His curve ball has some shape can be an average pitch at times already. At instructs his fastball reached up to 95 mph, and he developed his changeup. His changeup is now pretty devastating. He has extremely good control for his age. If he exhibits the type of control he is capable of then Staten Island, and even Charleston are not out of the question by the end of the season. It’s also possible given his polish that he starts at Staten Island. If so I apologize in advance for not having a crystal ball.
Others who could move quickly if they start in the GCL are Jordan CoteDaniel CamarenaJoey MaherChaz Hebert (aka all of the high school talents drafted in the 2011 draft), and Greg Bird (C).
Also starting June 18th is Staten Island, New York’s short season-A affiliate. This is a touch easier, although still unpredictable since the season doesn’t start until later. Isaias Tejeda had a breakout season last year in the GCL.
Being a catcher buried deep in an organization rich in catchers (especially before the Montero trade), Tejeda didn’t receive much attention early in the season. As time went on and he continued to rake, people started to take notice. By season’s end, it appeared (and still appears) that the Yankees had yet another solid catcher on their hands. He hit .331/.404/.568 in the GCL last season. He hit 6 HRs, 11 doubles, 3 triples, and even contributed 5 SB in 39 games. He is blessed with excellent patience, and a decent feel for playing the game behind the dish.
Tejeda is relatively new to catching, but he shows a lot of potential and already has an average arm and makes quick adjustments. Isaias “The Hata” Tejeda, as I like to call him, hated on pitchers last year in a major way with his powerful, patient stroke. He’s now 20 years old, which is a reasonable age for a kid in Staten Island.
The key here though is that Gary Sanchez will start the 2012 season in Charleston. There is a strong likelihood “The Sanchize” will move to High-A Tampa on the quick. If that should occur, someone will need to fill the void in Charleston. That man could be Isaias Tejeda if he continues to show the hitting prowess he did last year to start the 2012 season in Staten Island. Other candidates to make quick moves, if they are in Staten Island, are Taylor Morton (likely headed to Charleston), Evan Rutckyj,Gabriel EncinasMatt Duran (also possibly in Charleston), and Justin James.
I just mentioned Gary Sanchez as a likely fast mover in 2012. Because there are so many options though, I am going to talk about another guy who cannot be ignored at this level. Matthew Tracy, at his age, is going to have to move quickly to catch up with his similarly aged counterparts. That said, the Yankees don’t seem to be in any rush to move him along.
Any prospect that’s already 23 in Low-A is going to have get some quick promotions at some point though. Tracy is no exception. He is a pretty big, 6-foot-3, 212-pound lefty who posted some impressive numbers in Staten Island last year.
Tracy looked so good out of the bullpen with his three pitch combo of fastball, curve ball, and changeup that the coaching staff put him into the starting rotation for good. The results? 47.1 IP, 3.04 ERA, 48 K, and 16 BB. His fastball sits in the 92-94 range, and he has a lights out changeup which he can control very well and uses to get outs. His curve ball has improved by leaps and bounds since signing with the organization. His stuff and poise on the mound have already drawn comparisons toAndy Pettitte. While I would fall short of saying he is the next Andy just yet, he has shown some real promise in the early going. Given his age, handedness, and poise, he is my most likely candidate to make a quick entrance and exit from Charleston as soon as he shows he can handle single a hitters.
The River Dogs are a team full of quick moving candidates, including Mason WilliamsBranden PinderTyler AustinDante Bichette Jr., Phil Wetherell, Ben Paullus, and especially Gary Sanchez. I haven’t came up with an official nickname for Tracy yet, but given that he’ll hopefully be traveling a lot from state to state this year for promotions, I think the name “M-Trac(k)” may be appropriate.
Given the fact that Slade Heathcott is going to start the season on the DL, the most obvious candidate to quickly move from High-A to Double-A is J.R. Murphy. He’s still not a shoe in to start there, as the team may opt to advance him straight to Double-A. It’s more likely, however, that he starts in High-A and ends up moving quickly to Double-A as soon as he starts to drive the ball like last year.
Last season Murphy was slated to start the season at some other position besides catcher. There were defensive concerns, and Gary Sanchez was already there at the same level, so it seemed it was best to move on. Then, something happened. JR Murphy’s defense improved to the point where coaches began to think he could stick at catcher long term.
Given that a solid bat is much more valuable at catcher than elsewhere, it was a no brainer for coaches to give Murphy another shot there. He responded by hitting very well in Charleston for half the season with a .297/.343/.457 batting line, and six homers. He then received a promotion to High-A Tampa. He struggled to adjust at first, but then began to learn how to hit High-A pitchers. Just as he was starting to get the hang of it, he got injured and the Yankees shut him down for the season.
The bat has never been in question, so as long as he holds his own in the field he can fill the void thatAustin Romine left in Double-A as soon as he proves he’s ready. If he develops some more power, he could be an exciting option in a year or so for the major league team. Word out of camp is that he is mashing already, so look for it to be a short stay in Tampa for “Murph.” There aren’t a ton of other potential movers in High-A, but the other candidates include Jose RamirezRamon FloresNik Turley, Mikey O’Brien, Kyle Roller (if he’s there), and Rob Segedin (if he’s there).
There are a couple of pitchers starting the season at Double-A Trenton, namely Shaeffer Hall andBrett Marshall, who would be in line for a quick promotion to Triple-A if the rotation wasn’t so stacked there. There’s always the chance that they could trade one of those guys to open up some space, or that someone gets injured. I’m not banking on that though, especially given that the return for anyone not named Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances is likely to be insignificant. That leaves us withDavid AdamsCorban JosephRay KrumlZoilo AlmonteRonnier Mustelier and Chase Whitley as the remaining candidates for a midseason promotion.
Of these, Raymond Kruml has already been promoted so he doesn’t count, and Corban Joseph &Chase Whitley may start in Triple-A, so I’m going to discount them. I already did an article on Zoilo AlmonteDavid Adams is my candidate to get promoted midseason. There are a few reasons for this. I really like Corban Joseph, but I think he might need a little more time in Double-A before he’s ready for Triple-A. If he starts on the Empire State Yankees and shows his inexperience, he and Adams could be in for a switcheroo.
After a two year hiatus with a miserable ankle injury, it appears that at the beginning of the preseason David Adams was at 90-95%, meaning he will likely be at 100% soon. We’ve all seen what he can do in the past with the bat, and he can and will force the front office’s hand if he hits that way in Double-A to start the season. He’s not getting any younger at 24 to start the season, and getting value out of him as a prospect may necessitate quick movement. He could easily supplant a guy like Pena as the first call-up in case of a SS, 2B, or 3B related injury. Given his age and the maturity we’ve already seen with the bat, promoting him to Triple-A quickly may be an easy decision. Affectionately known as “DAdams” to BBD Prospects due to his advanced age in comparison to some of his colleagues in Double-A, he’s one of the closest players in this article to contributing at the major league level.
Before the flurry of starting pitcher related moves made be the Yankees recently, I would have said that someone out of the trio of David PhelpsAdam Warren, or D.J. Mitchell would have been the first call-up to major league camp. As things stand today, there are seven starting pitchers ahead of all three of them on the depth chart. That could change as it has become obvious that Cashman is trying to move Freddy Garcia. Even if he is successful in such a move, there is a one pitcher buffer before any of those three will be considered.
Aside from the non roster invitees who are not considered Yankees prospects and would have a good shot at a call-up should an injury occur, the first man to reach the Bronx from the minor leagues will likely be a relief pitcher. I am discounting guys like Ramiro Pena who have already been up and down. My pick for the first call-up is George KontosKevin Whelan got a brief taste last season, but he got a quick hook because he displayed a lack of control while in the majors. Cashman has a tendency to give someone else a try before giving a guy a second try, and Kontos appears ready.
Kontos pitched a whopping 89.1 IP out of the bullpen last season in Triple-A. He had 91 K and walked 26 batters. The ERA was 2.62. Kontos is known for his absolutely filthy slider, and a good low to mid 90′s fastball to go along with it. His control is usually pretty good. If the injury bug should bite the bullpen again, which seems almost inevitable the past few seasons, then he should be the first call up. Whelan and Ryan Pope are the other in house candidates. Cesar Cabral and Clay Rapada are both currently playing their asses off for the last spot in the bullpen. There’s a chance that whichever one loses will somehow end up in Triple-A to start the season at least. If that’s the case, they will probably be the first call-up. Austin Romine is another guy who could be pushed into duty if there’s an injury to Cervelli or Russell Martin.
Midseason promotions can be one of the trickiest sciences for coaches to master. Moving a guy up too soon or waiting too long can damage a player’s development. The goal is to advance players through the system rapidly without sending them to a level they are not ready for. In the past the Yankees have screwed this up in various ways, often rushing prospects along. It seems as though in recent years they have improved their methods. This year it will be fun to see who ends up being a part of the first round of promotions. Trying to predict promotions often results in looking foolish later on, but it’s still fun to think about. Hopefully these players perform to their abilities and show the Yankees that they are ready for the next level.