Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Remembering 2015: Chase Headley Highlights

Predicting the Spring Training Invitees

It's just about that time of the year Yankees family, the time where we're still digesting Christmas both emotionally and physically and where we're approaching a brand new year. Some are making New Years resolutions, others are buying out their local liquor stores while some are preparing for a quiet night at the house with friends and family. The Yankees are no exceptions but they do have one major task left to do presumably this week or next and that is to announce who they are inviting to Spring Training this March.

We know the entire 40 man roster will be invited to camp but who else? Honestly, I don't know but I am going to take an educate guess at it. If I missed anyone leave it below in the comments section.

Pete Kozma
Vinnie Pestano
Domingo German
Luis Cessa
Chad Green
Diego Moreno
Kyle Higashioka
Ronald Herrera
Francisco Diaz
Sebastian Valle
Jorge Mateo
James Kaprielian
Cesar Puello
Tyler Austin
Aaron Judge
Brady Lail

Meet a Prospect: All Those New Guys New York Signed

The New York Yankees have been adding as much minor league depth as they can find in recent weeks and rather do Meet a Prospect posts for every one of them I figured we could lump them all into one big post. We already met Vinnie Pestano because he has Major League experience and was a great relief pitcher for a couple years with the Cleveland Indians but the other guys have not shared the same successes yet. Those names include Jose Rosario, Richard Bleier, Juan Silva, Sebastian Valle and Cesar Puello.

These write ups courtesy of LoHud Yankees Blog:

Sebastian Valle
In the past: Once thought of as a top catching prospect, Valle has never reached the big leagues, but he’s still just 25 years old, he has some Triple-A experience, and he’s coming off a pretty good year in Double-A with a .754 OPS. He’s played in Mexico this winter.
Role to play: The Yankees are pretty thin at catcher in the upper levels, and Valle gives them an option who could be a Double-A regular, a Triple-A backup or even a Triple-A regular. Given the uncertainty of Gary Sanchez’s situation, the Yankees need some options behind the plate.

Jose Rosario
In the past: Primarily a middle infielder in the low minors, Rosario has shifted to a true utility role in recent seasons. His entire career was spent with the Yankees, so they’re signing a known commodity. He was still putting up pretty decent numbers as recently as 2014 when he was in High-A.
Role to play: Has played every position except catcher and first base, so he fits any franchise as an organizational utility man who can plug holes anywhere. Seems to most naturally fit the Double-A roster, but he could fill a bench role in Triple-A if necessary.

Richard Bleier
Left-handed starter
In the past: Has been both a starter and a reliever, but he most recently pitched as a starter through most of the 2015 season. And he put up really good numbers with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP between the two levels. Doesn’t strike out many guys, but doesn’t walk many either.
Role to play: This should be familiar, because it’s another bit of upper-level rotation depth. Probably not necessarily a next-in-line option for the big leagues, but certainly a guy who can provide innings in Double-A or Triple-A. If he can repeat his 2015 numbers, Bleier could put himself more firmly on the radar. But this looks a Double-A/Triple-A swingman as much as anything.

Juan Silva
In the past: Left-handed hitter with experience at all three outfield positions. He turns 25 in January and just got his first Double-A and Triple-A experience. Doesn’t have huge stolen base numbers, but in 2014 he was named the fastest and best baserunner in the California League.
Role to play: There’s not much room in the Triple-A outfield, but Silva could fit the Double-A roster. He’s shown some speed and on-base ability, and the Yankees like those two things. Another left-handed hitter, but he mostly fits as another option for Double-A (and he fits the Yankees’ mold).

And the Cesar Puello writeup was done by myself:

Puello missed much of the 2015 season with a back injury while inside the New York Mets organization. Puello was flat out released in August after an up-and-down tenure with the Metropolitans. Puello was suspended for 50 games after the whole Biogenesis clinic was shut down in Miami and is the only player to not reach the majors after the suspension. Puello was once a top outfield prospect for the Mets before the suspension, injuries and ineffectiveness dampened his career. 

The New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects List After the Chapman Trade

The New York Yankees gave us all a late Christmas present and an early New Years present yesterday when the team acquired All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman. As you know you have to give something to get something in most cases and what the Yankees gave up for Chapman's services was RHP's Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis along with infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda. Cotham and Renda weren't on anyone's Top 10 Yankees Prospects lists but Jagielo and Davis were on most so here is an updated list after the Chapman trade.

1. Aaron Judge
2. Jorge Mateo
3. Gary Sanchez
4. James Kaprielian
5. Robert Refsnyder
6. Drew Finley
7. Jacob Lindgren
8. Dustin Fowler
9. Ian Clarkin
10. Domingo Acevedo

After you get to the 5th spot these prospects become so interchangeable in my opinion. I wanted to include Brady Lail in my Top 10 but I am much higher on Domingo Acevedo than Baseball American is for example. Dustin Fowler is probably better than 8th on the list but I am trying to right a wrong by including Jacob Lindgren. He's still a prospect and he's still a top prospect, an elbow injury derailed his season and he will be back in 2016. This is not the issue here though, this just goes to show you how stacked the Yankees system is getting. It's not so black and white anymore, there is true talent coming out of the Yankees system now and it's a sight for sore eyes.

Meet a Prospect: Aroldis Freaking Chapman!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Happy December 25th, crappy December 25th, Happy New Year, happy whatever! Aroldis Chapman is a New York Yankees player now that the Yankees have sent Eric Jagielo, Tony Renda, Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis to the Cincinnati Reds in a trade yesterday evening. Chapman is now a Yankee at least through the 2016 season, maybe longer if he's suspended through the MLB Domestic Violence Policy, so now is as a good of time as any to meet him. This is Meet a Prospect, the Aroldis freaking Chapman Edition. Can you tell I'm pretty hyped for this trade?

Albertin Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz was born on February 28, 1988 in Holguin, Cuba. Chapman lived in a three-bedroom house with his two sisters, mother and father in Cuba where Aroldis's father, a boxing instructor, taught him how to box. When Chapman turned 15-years old he tried out for a Cuban baseball team where he played first base. While playing first base one of his coaches noticed he had the arm and the mechanics to be a pitcher and in 2003 he began his journey as a pitcher.

Chapman later pitcher for Holguin domestically and internationally for the Cuban National Baseball team until the time he defected from his native country in 2009. During his Cuban career Chapman pitched 327.2 career innings while compiling a 24-19 record and a 3.74 ERA with 365 strikeouts as a starting pitcher. Chapman, in fact, only made 11 relief appearances during his tenure in Cuba and they all came during the 2007 season. In 2006 Chapman was part of the Cuban National Series League while in 2007 he was a part of the Cuban delegation that joined the Pan American Games. In 2009 Chapman used the World Baseball Classic as a way to defect from his country and begin his career in the Major Leagues.

When Chapman defected in 2009 it was his second attempt at defection, Chapman failed once in the spring of 2008. Chapman was forced to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro who gave him a conditional repriece and suspended him for the rest of the National Series season while also keeping him out of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Chapman used the WBC to defect through Rotterdamn, Netherlands with the help of accomplice Gerardo Concepcion. Chapman established residency in Andorra and petitioned MLB for free agent status. MLB obliged and the bidding war for Chapman began.  In January of 2010 the Cincinnati Reds won the bidding war and signed the lefty to a six year deal worth $30.25 million. Chapman also received $16.25 million in bonuses paid annually over the next 11 seasons with an additional bonus if he became eligible for salary arbitration during the 2012 or 2013 seasons, which he did.

Chapman's rookie season began in 2010 where he began his professional career in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats. Chapman made 13 starts with Louisville before the team, due to struggles, moved him to the relief role. Chapman took off as a reliever dropping his ERA from 4.11 to 2.40 and was able to make his Major League debut on August 31, 2010 against the Milwaukee Brewers. Chapman made an immediate impact as his first MLB pitch was thrown at 98 MPH. Just a few weeks later on September 25, 2010 Chapman threw the fastest pitch ever recognized by MLB when he threw a pitch 105.1 MPH to the San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. Chapman had opened the eyes of the league and was on the map.

Chapman continued to get his feet wet in 2011 striking out 71 batters in 50.0 innings solely as a reliever before the Reds decided to introduce him as a starting pitcher for the 2012 season. The Reds suffered preseason injuries with closer Ryan Madson and middle relievers Bill Bray and Nick Masset leading manager Dusty Baker to place Chapman in the setup role for the club. Sean Marshall, the team's closer, struggled early in the season and Chapman was given the reigns to the closer rose in late May 2012. Chapman gave Baker immediate dividends for his decision and was named to his first All-Star Game that season while also winning the MLB Delivery Man of the Month Award for July. Chapman won the award again in August and finished the 2012 season with a 1.51 ERA and 38 saves in 43 chances while striking out 122 batters and walking just 23 batters in 71.2 innings. Chapman, the closer, was now a thing.

Chapman was the closer for good and as a closer he made his second consecutive All-Star Game appearance for the Reds in 2013. Chapman saved another 38 games and recorded another 112 strikeouts in another great season for the Cuban Flame Thrower. It was the 2014 season that Chapman was struck in the head during a spring training game against the Kansas City Royals and Chapman immediately underwent surgery to fix a skull fracture above his left eye while he also received a metal plate in his head to stabilize the fracture. Chapman began the season on the disabled list and did not come off the DL until May 10th of that season.  Chapman recorded his 100th save of his career in 2014 becoming the eight fastest pitcher to do so and finished the season with 36 saves and 106 strikeouts in just 54 appearances.

Chapman started the 2015 season with a new contract worth $8.05 million in arbitration and rewarded the team with yet another All-Star Game appearance. Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the National League striking out the side on 14 pitches, 12 of which were recorded at 100 MPH or faster. Chapman finished his final season in a Reds uniform with 65 appearances and a 1.63 ERA with 33 saves despite constant trade talks and rumors surrounding him in Cincinnati. That trade talk had Chapman traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the trade hit an unexpected snag for both parties.

Chapman was accused of committing domestic violence on October 30, although the news never hit the wire until December 7, a day after the deal to Los Angeles was agreed upon. In the incident Chapman was accused of choking his girlfriend and firing eight gunshots. No charges were filed by the police but Major League Baseball is going to investigate the issue and decide whether to suspend him through the league's domestic violence policy. If Chapman is suspended for more than 45 days, not games, he will not have enough service time to hit free agency after the 2016 season and will be a member of the Yankees, presumably, for the 2017 season as well. If he is not suspended or not suspended for more than 45 days he will hit free agency after this season and the Yankees will likely only get a draft pick after offering a qualifying offer to him after the season.

So what does Chapman bring to the Yankees? Chapman is an established closer with seemingly a rubber arm. Many have studied Champan's delivery and no one has reported any violence in his delivery, despite all the movement and deceptiveness in his delivery. Of course there are concerns about what throwing over 100 MPH almost every single pitch will do to his arm for the long term but right now there are no concerns with his left arm. Chapman brings three pitches to the table, a four-seam fastball, a slider and a very occasional changeup. Chapman will bring the Yankees a true fireball and strikeout pitcher. Chapman's average fastball in 2015 was 99.98 MPH and he threw the 62 fastest pitches of the season including his 103.92 MPH pitch that led the league last season. Chapman gets 33% swings and misses with his fastball and 58% with his slider which add up to a very healthy 14.66 K/9 ratio for his career. The Yankees love their strikeout pitchers in the pen and Chapman is a definite strikeout pitcher.

In no way are we here at The Greedy Pinstripes condoning what he did with his girlfriend and in no way are we making it okay because he is a great pitcher. It was a horrible thing he did and it's a thing that he has to face for the rest of his life. Not only will he have to face the league, his girlfriend, his friends, family and teammates for the rest of his life but he'll also have to answer to his maker or a supreme being when it is all said and done. I am excited about this trade, yes, but that doesn't mean I am okay with his actions. He screwed up and he doesn't have a history of domestic violence that I know about so you almost have to give him the benefit of the doubt, let the league and their investigation play out and see this thing to the end before damning him to hell. That's just my opinion and I wanted to make it clear. He helps the Yankees ON THE FIELD, his off the field actions I don't agree with nor do I like... but that's just me talking as a fan. Please understand.
Welcome to the team Aroldis and I hope you prove all your doubters wrong not only on the field but off the field as well. We're rooting for you regardless, welcome to the family.

Remembering 2015: Didi Gregorius Highlights

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/29: Melissa Ludtke

On this day in 1977 Melissa Ludtke filed a lawsuit against major league baseball, the New York Yankees, and New York city officials after the Sports Illustrated sports writer was denied access to interview players in the locker room during the World Series. Wonder if Reggie didn't want her to see the straw that stirred the drink.

Also on this day in 1933 Babe Ruth lost an opportunity to manage the Cincinnati Reds after being denied a release from the Yankees by Jacob Ruppert. Ruth was 38 years old at the time and was coming off a .301 season with 34 HR's and 103 RBI's in the 1933 season.

Also, although this is relatively minor, the Yankees traded Shawn Kelley to the San Diego Padres on this day in 2014 for RHP prospect Johnny Barbato.