Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Quick Look At The Yankees 1st Round Picks

The Yankees had three picks in the first round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. They originally just had pick #26, but thanks to Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano turning down qualifying offers and going elsewhere, they also received picks #32 and #33.

With pick #26 the Yanks took Eric Jagielo, a third baseman out of Notre Dame. Jagielo is a left-handed batter that's shown above average power. He was second in the Cape Cod league in home runs, and let's keep in mind that they use wood bats there, so there's no concern about him transitioning from metal/composite bats.  No doubt that the Yankees were thinking about the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium with this pick. Other than his power, Eric is looked at as an average hitter, but a below average runner. The running thing is not a big concern to me, as the team does have some quick guys coming up through the minors already. As for defense, Jagielo has good arm strength, but could see a move to the outfield.

The Yankees next pick came at #32, and they decided to draft Aaron Judge, a centerfielder out of Fresno State University. Judge is a really big guy, standing 6'7" and weighing in at 255 pounds, and was actually set to play football at Fresno St. before checking out the baseball tryouts. Don't let that size make you think he's slow, though, as Aaron is said to be very fleet of foot, making a future at centerfield a real possibility. Judge went on to win the College Home Run Derby in 2012, and actually this past season he hit a home run off of this year's #1 overall pick Mark Appel. Not only is he quick, but Aaron also is said to be an above average fielder with a good arm.

With their final pick in the first round, the Yankees took left-handed pitcher Ian Clarken. Ian is from James Madison High School in California. Many were surprised he fell this low, as Clarken has some big upside thanks to a 92-93 mph fastball, a good changeup, and what some scouts believe is the best curveball out of all high school pitchers. There's a good chance that Ian moves through the minors faster than the average high schooler as well. The real question when it comes to Clarkin is his command, which was a bit inconsistent in the Area Code Games.

I think the Yankees did a really good job with their three first round picks. Of course, nobody can say for sure that any of these three could fill roles for the Yankees in the future, but they certainly made better picks than they have in past drafts.

Game Thread NYY @ SEA 6/6

The Yankees will try to make it four wins in a row as they begin a four-game series against the Mariners. The Yankees will send Phil Hughes to the mound to face former Athletic-Red-Padre-Dodger Aaron Harang.

Joe Girardi is going with the following lineup tonight...

1. Brett Gardner CF
2. Robinson Cano 2B
3. Mark Teixeira 1B
4. Travis Hafner DH
5. Kevin Youkilis 3B
6. Vernon Wells LF
7. Ichiro Suzuki RF
8. Jayson Nix SS
9. Austin Romine C

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes to chat with us during the game and keep up with the Yankees all season long.

Thoughts On The MLB Draft

Sorry, Axl, but patience is something very few Yankees fans possess.

The 2012 American League All Star team had 15 guys chosen in the 1st round of the Major League Baseball draft. Three of those 15 players were the 1st overall pick in their respective drafts (Josh Hamilton, Joe Mauer, David Price). After those 15 players, the rest of the roster was made up of players that were either signed as international free agents or picked in the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 20th, and 27th rounds.

The point I'm trying to make, and one that's been said by many before me, is that the MLB draft is a crapshoot. And for that reason, I don't follow amateurs at all. I may watch some college games, but other than that I'm not sure I could tell you what school Mark Appel pitched for, let alone where he'll go in the draft ( has him as the #1 overall prospect).

That doesn't mean I look down on those that do follow the draft or the players that will be picked in it. Mike Axisa at River Avenue Blues does an excellent job of going over the top prospects in the draft. Unfortunately, although I enjoy reading the vast majority of his stuff at RAB, I have not given his articles about amateurs a second look.

So it boggles my mind that I'm sitting here on my computer, with live coverage of the draft up in one window, a list of the top 100 prospects eligible for the draft in another, and I'm writing about the draft. Daniel Burch is the prospect guy around here, so until now I figured he would take care of all the draft stuff. I guess I'm a baseball and sports fan at heart, so seeing young guys realize their dream draws me into things.

We likely won't find out how the Yankees did in the 2013 MLB draft for years to come, but I know that won't stop people from overreacting one way or the other to the players taken. It's like seeing people try to give the Yankees a "win" or a "loss" regarding the Pineda/Montero trade from last year. However, patience is a virtue that the majority of Yankees fans do not possess. And count me among the "majority".

New York Yankees @ Seattle Mariners 6/6

We won a game yesterday, if we win one today that's two in a row. If we win one tomorrow that's called a winning streak. It has happened before 
-Lou Brown, former manager of the Cleveland Indians
The Yankees are coming off of a three-game sweep of the Indians, and look to continue that success in their first west coast trip of the year. They will play a four-game set against the Seattle Mariners, who are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and just won their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox by winning the first two games.

Offense has been the most pressing issue for the Bombers, as they are averaging 4.07 runs per game this season. But they were able to score 17 runs in the three-game series against Cleveland, and hopefully that's a sign of things to come.

Tonight's game will start at 10:10pm EST, and can be seen on YES.

Game 60 Lineup: Yankees @ Mariners

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Travis Hafner DH
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Vernon Wells LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jayson Nix SS
Austin Romine C

RHP Phil Hughes

A few things:

-- A lot of you enjoy it when I live tweet the Yankees games, but I'm not going to be live tweeting the game tonight. The reason is I'll be  watching the 2013 MLB Draft to see who will be the future in the New York Yankees franchise. You could follow along on my Twitter @dfiregirl4 throughout the night. Good luck to all in the draft!

Yankees 2013 Draft Budgets

The Yankees have three first round picks in tonight's draft, which will broadcast at 7:00 pm ET on MLB Network, including the 26th pick, 32nd, and 33rd picks in the first round. The Yankees will have a ton of money to spend on this first round talent. See below:

26th pick slot is $1,839,400.000
32nd pick slot is $1,677,100.00
33rd pick slot is $1,650,100.00

The Yankees have 12 picks all together in this years draft totaling a staggering $7,957,400.00. This is the 8th highest budget in all of baseball which is amazing for a team that had the best record in the American League last season in 2012. The Yankees made some great picks and signings last year, some way below the slot recommendation, and found a way to come away from the draft with stellar talent without penalties for over spending. The draft and new collective bargaining agreement that was written to keep the Yankees down has not exactly done that to date so watch tonight as the Yankees spend their roughly $8 million on the newest Yankees talent.

Reminder For 2013 MLB Draft Today

Just a reminder, not that any of you need it, but the MLB First Year Players Draft is today on MLB Network. The Yankees have three picks in the first round so it should be interesting to watch the Yankees stock up on talent late in the first round. The draft will begin tonight at 7:00 pm ET on MLB Network.

A-Rod releases statement amid PED scandal

Dan Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal tweeted that Alex Rodriguez made a statement amid the PED scandal that could have him and 20 other players suspended from Major League Baseball. Rodriguez said the following:
Myself and others are being mentioned in a media report before the process is even concluded. I would hope this thing would follow the guidelines of our basic agreement. I will monitor the situation and comment when appropriate. As I've said previously, I am working out every day to get back on the field and help the Yankees win a championship.

-- Alex Rodriguez

Some of the Yankees players sounded off about A-Rod's possible suspension from the MLB with the most logical words coming from Brett Gardner.
We haven't had him the last two months. It won't change anything.

-- Brett Gardner

However, after that statement Gardner said that A-Rod is like a brother to the team. CC Sabathia said that he team will welcome A-Rod back with open arms while Mariano Rivera said that while he won't press Alex Rodriguez to talk about the scandal, he will listen with open ears if A-Rod has any thoughts, comments or concerns.

Baseball Draft Cards Brien Taylor

Today is day one of the MLB First Year Player's Draft and the Yankees have three picks in the first round which makes for an interesting day one. I wanted to take this opportunity to share arguably a baseball card of the biggest draft bust in Yankees history, Brien Taylor. Taylor was selected first overall in the 1991 draft by the Yankees and Taylor never really reached the majors or his potential before being released way back in 1998. Hopefully the Yankees do a little better with their three big picks this afternoon. Watch the draft live on MLB Network.

Gardner's a different hitter this year

[caption id="attachment_15865" align="aligncenter" width="604"]Gardner hasn't hit like the typical leadoff this yr (Zimbio photo) Gardner hasn't hit like the typical leadoff this yr (Zimbio photo)[/caption]

During Brett Gardner's career, he has always displayed the perfect approach and skill set for a leadoff hitter.  He takes a lot of pitches, draws walks, slaps the ball on the ground and runs like the wind. However, because of the Yankees loaded offense and the presence of Derek Jeter, Brett never settled into the leadoff spot for the Yankees until this year.  Finally getting the opportunity to lead off everyday, for the first time in his career Gardner has not produced like a typical leadoff hitter.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing but Brett is definitely getting different results.

He is still doing a fine job of working pitchers as he is 12th in the A.L. with 4.17 Pitches per Plate Appearance.  However, he is swinging at more of those pitches, putting more of those pitches into play and Walking less.  His Walk Rate is a career low 8.9% which has led to a semi-disappointing .333 OBP which is about 20 points below his career average.  Per this Fangraphs article, he has is swinging at 42% of pitches this  year which is a 8.3% jump from his previous 4 seasons - a bigger jump than anyone in MLB over the same period of time.  He is also swinging at the 1st pitch more than twice as much as before and hitting the ball on the Ground less (from 51% to 40%).

But the results of this change in approach isn't just a reduce in Walks and OBP%, Brett is driving the ball with much more authority this year.  His 6 HRs are just 1 below his career-high and he's also on pace for career-highs in Doubles and Triples.  His .429 SLG% is 4th on the team behind only Cano, Hafner & Overbay and he is behind only the same 3 players for the team lead in RBIs with 26.  For a leadoff man in a weak lineup to drive in that any runs is impressive and means he's getting a lot of big hits. 15 of those RBIs have come on 2-out hits when he has done most of his damage this year hitting .322/.365/.525/.891.

Watching the games it's evident Brett is more comfortable with his swing and driving the ball with more authority than any time in his career.  Although his .265 Batting Average this yr is the same as his career mark, the type of hits he's getting has changed.  In his last 2 full yrs of 2010-11, he had 48 infield hits which made up 18.2% of all his base hits.  This yr, he has legged out just 4 hits which is just 6.9% of all his hits. Speaking of legging it out, Brett has not had a great year on the bases with just 9 steals in 14 attempts - a far cry from the 49 and 46 SBs he had in 2011 & 10, respectively.  I think there are 3 main reasons for this, the first being less chances.  His SB opportunities have decreased because of the drop in OBP% and the increase in extra base hits.  He's simply been on First base less.  The other reason is Robinson Cano has been batting 2nd most of the year.  Cano is a free swinger and Girardi doesn't want to send the runner too often with his best hitter at the plate.  The last reason is he hasn't been good leading off in the 1st inning with just a .208 BA and .296 OBP.  That is the only time he's assured of batting with no one in front of him but he's struggled for whatever reason. I think that will level out and he'll steal more as the season progresses.

Are these changes in Gardner's game a good thing? I think they are.  I've always thought that Gardner could put up better power numbers and a higher average because he has shown the ability in the past for spurts.  But he always seemed conflicted between being the hitter he is now and the slap-hitting ground ball machine he often was.  While I'd like to see him getting on base more often out of the leadoff spot, I like the confidence and more aggressive approach at the plate.  The Yanks have been starving for run production this year and Gardner has stepped it up.  If he can begin to incorporate the power gains with the Walks & SBs of previous years, he will really be something special.  He's also providing his offense out of CF now, where he should have been years ago.  His defense has not slipped a bit moving from LF to CF and he's truly one of the game's best defensive OFs.

Morning Bits 6/6/13

Good morning everyone!

The Yankees completed a sweep of the Indians yesterday afternoon behind a complete game by CC Sabathia and home runs by Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner.

Sabathia's complete game was much appreciated by a Yankee bullpen that has been overworked recently.

The Yankees begin a brutal ten game West Coast road trip tonight in Seattle against the Mariners.  Four games in Seattle will be followed by three games apiece in Oakland and Anaheim.

Phil Hughes(2-4 5.37 ERA) will take on Aaron Harang (2-5 5.82 ERA) tonight. Game time is 10:10 ET and the game will be broadcast on YES.

Now on to today's news:

David Lariviere of Forbes thinks that the Yankees should release Alex Rodriguez if he is suspended for 100 games by MLB.

Anthony Maimone of the Bleacher Report has this mock draft with picks and predictions on who the Yankees will draft with their four first-round picks.

Barry Bloom of has this piece on Ichiro Suzuki closing in on 4,000 hits.

Have a great day everyone!

This Day In Yankees History 6/6

On this day in 1934 Myril Hoag became the first player in Yankees history to collect six hits in a single game.  The Yankees routed the Red Sox 15-3 on this day.

On this day in 1999 Derek Jeter's consecutive game streak of reaching base was snapped at 54 games when the Mets kept him off the base paths in a 7-2 loss.