Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Baseball returns and so does A-Rod

The 2015 MLB season has officially opened with that wonderful optimism that marks the annual return of baseball and spring training. It also marks the return of the three-ring circus in Yankees camp. The player who has the garnered the most attention over the last few years because of the Biogenesis scandal is back. A-Rod spent the last few years channeling his inner-Vince McMahon and suing everybody, before receiving the largest PED suspension in baseball history.

A-Rod’s apology tour started with newly elected MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and top Yankees brass and ended with a handwritten letter directed towards the fans. It sounds simple enough if it was a sincere apology.

The main issue with A-Rod’s apology is he never accurately says what he is apologizing for. Instead, A-Rod continues to be A-Rod, and dodges the issue. Maybe he is worried about potential legal ramifications from law enforcement by apologizing for PED use in the letter. Whatever the reason may be, A-Rod should know that most fans will probably not believe anything he says again.

He said in his 2009 press conference that he wants to be judged from this day forward.

Well A-Rod, you got your wish and you are not going to like it. A-Rod still believes he will be inducted to the MLB Hall of Fame one day, which seems to be why he apologized. Furthermore, he has been following in Derek Jeter’s footsteps throughout his whole career. Last February, Jeter released an exceptional retirement address and A-Rod released a poor apology online. Jeter is beloved by the fans and A-Rod is pretty much universally disliked.

A-Rod can attempt to change the fans’ perception of him by winning and not with meaningless apologies. Winning is what matters. Do you remember winning the World Series in 2009, A-Rod?

ICYMI: Interview w/ Prospect Brandon Thomas

I am extremely excited about this interview with former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket and current Yankees farm hand Brandon Thomas. I did not watch much college football when I lived in New York, although I did root for the Syracuse Orange in March Madness, but when I moved down here I got into CFB. Everyone in my town roots for the rival Georgia Bulldogs so, me being the different guy I am, started following the Yellow Jackets. It started in football, was followed by basketball, and ended up watching their baseball team. Now I am interviewing former GT players and current Yankees players and I am stoked. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it. 

The Greedy Pinstripes: Brandon Thomas, former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket (my favorite college team), how are you today sir? How is your offseason going?

My offseason has been great. I've been able to work on some things and am getting ready to get started.

TGP:  How do you plan to follow up a 2013 season in which you were named the Yankees Best Athlete coming out of the draft and a solid 2014 season?

I plan on continuing to work hard, improving all areas of my game, and having a great first full pro season.

TGP: Do you miss anything about the whole college experience or anything specifically at Georgia Tech?

I really enjoyed my college career at GT.

TGP: Do you keep up with the Georgia Tech baseball and/or football teams? Another tough season and bowl loss. How much longer does Coach Paul Johnson have left?

I keep in touch with a lot of the GT Baseball players and coaches. I have a lot of great relationships from my 4 years there.

TGP: How many Varsity hot dogs or chili cheese burgers do you think you have eaten in your life?


TGP:  What were you doing when you found out that you became a member of the New York Yankees?

Waiting in the kitchen with my Mom to find out where I would be going.

TGP:  What teams and sports did you root for and watch growing up?

I've always liked watching baseball, basketball, and football. No specific professional teams though.

TGP: Favorite restaurant to eat at?


TGP: What current Major League player do you think you compare to the most?

Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran are two of my favorite players

TGP: How important is family to you in your life and in your career?

Faith and family are the two most important things to me in my life.

TGP: Speaking of embarrassing please explain the picture on your Twitter of you and a bunch of your teammates half naked on a bus. I'm not judging though. 

Haha! The AC on our bus this summer broke... Not a fun 8 hours

TGP: Any parting words you would like to express to all those Georgia Bulldogs fans?

Proud that we had a winning record against the bulldogs in my GT career!

TGP: We'll finish with this one, where do you see yourself in life and your career in five years?

I see myself a few years in to my big league career in 5 years.

Thank you again to Brandon for doing this interview for us, I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can follow Brandon on Twitter by following @brandonthomas6.

The Atlanta Braves are Stockpiling Former Yankees Prospects

When the Yankees parted ways with former scout Gordon Blakely this offseason there wasn't much press about it. When I did a search on the blog to see if I even wrote about it I found just one article, not the article stating that he left but an article where I just lumped it into the Trey Hillman Hired by Houston article. This was not on anyone's radar but after an offseason where the Braves cherry picked and picked off many former Yankees prospects maybe it should be on our radar now.

Many former Yankees including Manny Banuelos, Chien-Ming Wang, Zoilo Almonte, Corban Joseph, Francisco Rondon, Jairo Heredia, Eury Perez and Jose Veras among others are currently in Atlanta Braves spring training camp. While there aren't any All Stars on this list and while I acknowledge that all of them but Banuelos were acquired because they were allowed to be free agents for good reason this may be the beginning of a trend in Atlanta.

Blakely was the man who signed Robinson Cano. What that means now doesn't mean what it mean't back about 10 years ago but I think the former Yankees scout is trying to find lightning in a bottle again at the Yankees expense. If any team can take a reclamation project and turn them into a serviceable MLB piece it's the Atlanta Braves so remember that list above. You may be seeing their names soon.

Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 Prospects List: #4

We're into the Top Four ladies and gentleman. Top Four Yankees Prospects. This is bitter sweet because I never want Prospects Month to end but it's also an absolute ton of work. It's worth it though. Anyway, the Yankees fourth best prospect on our list is none other than Mr. Jorge Mateo!

Here is the write up from Kyle McDaniel on Sanchez:

Current Level/Age: RK/19.6, 6’0/190, R/R
Signed: IFA at age 16 on January 28, 2012 out of Dominican Republic by NYY for $250,000

Hit: 20/50+, Game Power: 20/45, Raw Power: 45/45+, Speed: 80/80, Field: 45/55, Throw: 55/55

Scouting Report: The Dominican shortstop was a low profile signings in January 2012 and jumped on the prospect scene this season with a breakout stateside debut in the GCL.  Mateo has grown an inch and added 25-30 pounds since signing and 2014 wasn’t even his first strong performance: he hit 7 homers and stole 49 bases in 299 plate appearances in the Dominican Summer League in 2013.  Scouts were telling me about Mateo early in the GCL season with his 80 speed attracting a lot of attention, but his breakout GCL season was ended early by a broken finger. I didn’t see Mateo until instructional league in Tampa, which is where the above video was shot.

Mateo runs a 4.0 in the first clip of the above video; a top-of-the-scale 80 time on the 20-80 scouting scale. He exceeded my expectations by showing true 80 speed and enough arm, range and hands to have a real chance to stick at shortstop with a surprising amount of pop in batting practice.  Still just 19, Mateo was more than just a live body with some bat speed, showing surprising feel at the plate by working counts and battling against pitchers years older than him.

Given his age and low level of competition so far, there’s still some risk and things for him to work on. He’s good defensively but isn’t a the super-smooth Gold Glove type, so he’ll need to continue to hone his instinct and footwork, but the tools are there to be a solid defender. Mateo loads his hands a little too high and his foot is often off the ground at contact (both fixable issues), but he has the bat control and feel for his swing to make a healthy cut work.  He should probably shorten his swing a bit from his current Alfonso Soriano-type cut, but there’s a lot of talent here, so you don’t want to interfere with it too much.

Summation: Mateo likely heads to Low-A next year in what will be one of the most anticipated full-season debuts in baseball due to his buzz, upside and lack of experience stateside.

Upside: .285/.350/.440, 12-15 homers, plus plus base running, solid average defense
FV/Risk: 50, High (4 on a 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: Low-A, 2016: High-A, 2017: AA/AAA, 2018: AAA/MLB

4. Jorge Mateo
5. Robert Refsnyder
6. Gary Sanchez
7. Jacob Lindgren
8. Ian Clarkin
9. John Ryan Murphy
10. Luis Torrens
11. Tyler Austin
12. Bryan Mitchell
13. Miguel Andujar
14. Eric Jagielo
15. Jake Cave
16. Austin DeCarr
17. Tyler Wade
18. Juan DeLeon
19. Dante Bichette Jr.
20. Domingo German
21. Slade Heathcott
22. Nick Rumbelow
23. Jose Ramirez
24. Ramon Flores
25. Gosuke Katoh
26. Chasen Shreve
27. Taylor Dugas

28. Johnny Barbato

Meet a Prospect: Tyler Austin

Tyler Austin is graded by scouts as a B-, which anyone with a High School diploma, a GED, or an equivalent diploma can tell you... that is pretty darn good. He is a 3B by trade but also can play 1B and the outfield and would be a perfect DH type as well. As a 19 yr. old he had one of the more polished bats in all of the New York Penn League (NYPL), the same NYPL that Mason Williams tore up in Staten Island. This is probably an anomaly but he was 18 for 18 in base stealing opportunities last season as well. 

Drafted in the 13th round of the 2010 draft he broke his wrist in his 2nd pro game and missed basically the entire season. In his first season in  extended spring training, the Gulf Coast League (GCL), and the NYPL in Staten Island Austin had a triple slash of .354/ .418/ .579 in 47 combined games including 26 extra base hits. 

At 6'2" and 200 pounds his frame is athletic and speedy for a guy his size. He has shown that he can spray the ball to all fields although he needs to develop more power. He has nothing left to prove at the "lower" levels of the minor league systems and looks to bring his tools with him to the Bronx as he is knocking on the door as soon as 2015. The biggest concern with Austin is going to be what position will he play. The scouts are wondering whether he can be adequate enough to stay at the 3B position, although his lack of power thus far scares most away from having him be a 1B. Does Austin have the speed, the range and the arm to play right field? Honestly I think he can play any position he so chooses to, the guy is that talented. 

Keith Law, insider required or I would link, even placed him on his "sleeper" prospects for the 2012 season saying “Third baseman Tyler Austin has turned himself into a pretty good defender over there, defying earlier predictions he’d have to move to first,” said KLaw of his sleeper pick for the Yankees. “[He] has a whole-field approach to hitting with pull power right now, and runs well for his size with a perfect stolen-base record in the pros.” 

Austin will likely start the season in Scranton with the RailRiders in 2015 but he isn't long for the minor leagues. Austin is ready defensively and he is definitely ready with the bat. If Austin's wrist injuries are behind him, which I truly believe that they are, there is nothing stopping this young man from making it all the way to the Show. I've always been one of the biggest Austin fans around and I continue to be until he proves me wrong, and he hasn't yet. 

Looking at the 2015 Draft: 4th Best Prospect

Continuing our look at the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft we take a look at the #4 ranked prospect expected to enter the draft. As always we will include the mini scouting report from as we introduce the #4 prospect, Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers is a shortstop who is spending his time playing baseball at Lake Mary High School in Florida. 

Here is the write up from

Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 60 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 60

Rodgers is bidding to become the first high school shortstop to go No. 1 overall in the Draft since the Astros selected Carlos Correa in 2012. That's fitting, because he drives the ball with more consistency than any prep shortstop since Correa.

A Florida State recruit, Rodgers has gotten considerably stronger in the last year and he generates power with an easy, compact stroke. He doesn't have to muscle up to hit home runs, and his bat speed and all-fields approach bode well for his ability to hit for average as a pro.

A quality athlete with solid speed and above-average arm strength, Rodgers should be able to remain at shortstop. He has soft hands and good instincts in the field. His all-around toolset is reminiscent of that of Addison Russell, who went 11th overall in the 2012 draft to the Athletics and joined the Cubs as part of the Jeff Samardzija trade last July.

4. Brendan Rodgers
5. Nathan Kirby
6. Kyle Funkhouser
7. Kolby Allard
8. Daz Cameron
9. Dansby Swanson
10. Ashe Russell
11. Justin Hooper
12. Carson Fulmer
13. Alex Bregman
14. Nick Plummer
15. Trenton Clark
16. Ian Happ
17. Phil Bickford
18. Mike Nikorak
19. Kyle Cody
20. Cody Ponce
21. Riley Ferrell
22. Chris Betts
23. James Kaprielian
24. Jake Lemoine
25. Beau Burrows
26. Richie Martin
27. Kyle Tucker
28. D.J. Stewart

VIDEO: Luis Severino Throws Live Batting Practice

Let's watch as Luis Severino throws live batting practice at Yankees Spring Training camp, shall we?

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/25: Scooter Gets the Call from the Hall

On this day in 1994 the Veterans Committee elected Phil Rizzuto to the Hall of Fame along with Leo Durocher. The former infielder and then current television broadcaster, which caused much debate given his borderline stats, because important to his supporters when Pee Wee Reese, a similar player, was inducted in 1984 as a Brooklyn Dodger.