Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: The 2009 World Series Championship Movie

Tonight marks the end of the boring winter ahead as tomorrow morning spawns a new day, Prospects Month. Enjoy the last time the Yankees won the World Series back in 2009 and watch their movie. I've watched it twice, it's awesome and comes with the highest of recommendations.

40 facts about 40 Yankees

"Wikipedia? Never heard of it."

I haven't been inspired to write much of anything lately, which unfortunately has led to Daniel having to carry the bulk of the load around here. Trust me, I've been looking out for something to spark that desire to write, but since the Yankees have had an incredibly quiet offseason things have been tough.

However, after reading something interesting about one of the current Yankees, I decided to do some research and try to find something about each player on the Yankees' 40-man roster that you may not have known.

If you did know something here please don't yell at me and say I didn't do enough research. It was really hard to find at least something about a few players, so cut me some slack.

So here we go with 40 facts about 40 Yankees...

Johnny Barbato - attended Felix Varela High School in Miami, the same school former Glee star Blake Jenner went to.

Dellin Betances - sat with the Bleacher Creatures during David Wells' perfect game in 1998.

Vicente Campos - he is the cousin of former MLB pitcher Kelvim Escobar and Kansas City Royals' shortstop Alcides Escobar.

Luis Cessa - during an interview with David Conde of, Cessa listed Andy Pettitte as one of his favorite players growing up.

Aroldis Chapman - while many start playing organized baseball around age 7, Aroldis didn't do so until he was 15.

Nathan Eovaldi - in his MLB debut, starting for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Nathan gave up 4 hits in 5 innings... two to opposing starter Joe Saunders.

Nick Goody - while pitching at Louisiana State University, Nick took the closer's role from current teammate Nick Rumbelow.

Jacob Lindgren - while attending Mississippi State University Jacob was part of the rap group "Bench Mobb", where he went by the name "Big Chunk".

Andrew Miller - attended Buchholz High School in Gainesville, FL, which was also attended by former NBA player Vernon Maxwell, as well as former NFL players Ivy Joe Hunter, Lamar Thomas, Billy Latsko, and Doug Johnson.

Bryan Mitchell - during the 2009 MLB Amateur draft many teams passed on drafting Mitchell due to him having committed to The University of North Carolina. However, Bryan was drafted by the Yankees and decided not to enroll in UNC after all.

Ivan Nova - The Boston Red Sox tried to sign Ivan , however in an interview with ESPN The Magazine, Nova was quoted as saying "I really didn't want to sign with Boston. My father and I were both Yankee fans."

Tyler Olson - if the Yankees groundskeepers ever need help, then they can look to Tyler. While at Gonzaga, Olson spent a summer working alongside the baseball team's groundskeeper.

James Pazos - while it's only been 5 innings, Pazos has yet to give up an extra-base hit.

Brandon Pinder - in Pinder's 1st appearance in MLB he got out of the inning thanks to a rare bunt pop-up, where Alejandro De Aza was doubled off 3rd after hitting a triple in the at bat before.

Michael Pineda - while he likes to conduct interviews in English, he sometimes has to get help from Dellin Betances.

Nick Rumbelow - while some aspiring professional athletes would concentrate one that one sport during high school, Nick was an outside linebacker/punter in football and point guard in basketball.

CC Sabathia - actually signed a letter of intent to play football at the University of Hawaii, but decided to go pro in baseball instead.

Luis Severino - grew up a Yankees fan, and particularly Robinson Cano.

Chasen Shreve - was a teammate of Bryce Harper in college, and maybe will be a teammate of his again in a couple years?

Masahiro Tanaka - I've mentioned in the past that 'Hiro is a huge fan of Momoiro Clover Z, a female musical group from Japan, and their songs are played while he warms up. But Tanaka also uses a 5-colored glove for practicing, and wears a glove with a clover leaf during games... both of which pay homage to the same music group.

Kirby Yates - although drafted by the Red Sox in 2005, Kirby decided to attend college at Yavapai College instead. Good call, Kirby!

Brian McCann - Donny Osmond, a favorite of both Brian and his wife Ashley, performed at their wedding.

Austin Romine - his father, Kevin, spent seven years with the Boston Red Sox. Thankfully Austin didn't take after his dad.

Gary Sanchez - he follows Manny Ramirez on Twitter. Hopefully it's his way of learning what not to do.

Greg Bird - Greg was set to play ball for the University of Arkansas but decided to join the Yankees instead. Good call, Greg! You don't want to be in the SEC.

Starlin Castro - As a Cub Starlin hit a home run in his first MLB at-bat. The Yankees have had three guys do that... John Miller in 1966, Marcus Thames in 2002, and Andy Phillips in 2004.

Didi Gregorius - His father, Johannes, pitched for the Amsterdam Pirates. His mother, Sherista, played softball for the Dutch national team. His older brother, Johannes Jr., played in Honkbal Hoofdklasse of the Italian Baseball League, as well as for the national team of Curacao. And his grandfather, Antonio, is known as one of the greatest pitchers in the history of Curacoa. So you can say Didi was destined to do something good in the sport.

Chase Headley - While Chase was a good baseball player in college, including having broke Todd Helton's record of walks in a single season for the University of Tennessee with 62, he was also an Academic All-American with a 3.62 GPA.

Rob Refsnyder - Rob was not raised to be soft, as it wasn't until he was 17 that he beat his father in pick-up basketball. I like that.

Mark Teixeira - Mark is not only a big Broadway fan, but he also appeared on stage in a production of Rock of Ages as "Mark the bartender".

Dustin Ackley - a friend of mine has a son that was born months premature, and I know how strong my friend was going through that. So knowing that Dustin has a son that was born six months premature leads me to believe that he too is a good a strong man.

Lane Adams - when he graduated high school Lane was the fifth highest scoring basketball player in Oklahoma high school basketball history, and was committed to play for Missouri State University before he was drafted by the Royals.

Carlos Beltran - while sliding into second base for his 300th steal, joining the 300–300 club on June 15, 2012, a cross necklace popped out of his jersey, and after the game, he told a reporter that "all the glory" was God's.

Jacoby Ellsbury - Ellsbury released a zinfandel wine called ZinfandEllsbury through Charity Wines, with 100% of his proceeds donated among three charities: The Navajo Relief Fund, Project Bread: The Walk for Hunger, and Ellsbury Read Project.

Ben Gamel - graduated from Bishop Kenny High School, the same school attended by Darren O'Day and Jonathan Papelbon.

Brett Gardner - while you may have heard this one before, I love it... Brett had initially tried to walk onto the baseball team at the College of Charleston. Although he didn't hear anything about making the team afterwards, Brett showed up to practice anyway. The coach asked why he was there, and Brett told him that he knew he was capable of playing at the Division 1 level. The coach allowed him to stay as long as he didn't screw up, and Gardner ended up a third-team All-American and a second-time All-Southern Conference player.

Slade Heathcott - Slade's overcome a lot in his life. When he was younger he was arrested for DUI, and was kicked off the high school baseball team for academic reasons. And is said to have pointed a 12-gauge shotgun at his father during an argument. Thankfully, with the help of Sam Marsonek, a former MLB pitcher, Slade turned his life around.

Aaron Hicks - Aaron actually wore #32 in Minnesota to honor Dave Winfield.

Mason Williams - Williams' father, Derwin Williams, played in the National Football League for the New England Patriots. His grandfather's brother, Walt Williams, played Major League Baseball from 1964 through 1975 as an outfielder with the Houston Colt .45s, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees.

Alex Rodriguez - we all know how gifted a baseball player Alex was when he was younger, but did you know that he was very close to becoming the next Bo Jackson/Deion Sanders? Before joining the Seattle Mariners, Alex was set to play both baseball and football at the University of Miami?

Although I'd love to see Brian Cashman pull a rabbit out of a hat and make a big splash with a trade that would net the Yankees a good/young starter, part of me hopes nothing happens otherwise I might have to re-do this article.

I tell you what, should it happen I'll include a bit of information about whoever joins the team... but not all 40 of them again.


By the way, if you have something about a player, then put it in the comments. Even if the person isn't currently on the team, or heck... never was, tell us about it. I think stuff like this is really interesting.

Fantasy Baseball: Who are the New York Mets?

The New York Mets are the new version of the New York Yankees? If you read the New York tabloids and sports articles online apparently some seem to think so, me not so much but I digress. Who exactly are the New York Mets? They are a bunch of aces with a Bartolo Colon thrown in who pitch behind players like David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes. But who are the Mets really and how can they help you in your fantasy league draft? Well I’m glad you asked. 

The New York Mets have a new shortstop and a new second baseman now that Daniel Murphy is gone and the team feels good about where their offense is at this point. Asdrubal Cabrera could be the team’s starting shortstop over Wilmer Flores but he may be better suited as a backup for New York and Zack Wheeler is on his way back from Tommy John surgery leaving Bartolo Colon’s future with the team up in the air. 

We’ll start with Walker who has some large shoes to fill, especially if the Mets make the postseason for the second consecutive season. Murphy was an absolute beast in the postseason and although Walker brings much better defense and surprisingly more power to the club he may be overlooked for much of the season. Walker is one of the better second baseman in the National League in my opinion and may be a solid, not spectacular, pickup for you at the position if you can wait him out until the middle rounds. 

Asdrubal Cabrera’s position with the team is not set in stone yet and likely won’t be until the end of Spring Training. With Wilmer Flores currently manning the shortstop position and Ruben Tejada expected back sometime in early 2016 Cabrera may be forced into a super utility role. Cabrera is solid everywhere but not really spectacular at anything leaving much to be desired as a starter, although he wouldn’t be the worst 20th round pick or so in the world. If he’s a bench player he has little fantasy value but if he’s a starter he may be worth a shot late. 

Finally you have the return of Zack Wheeler and what it may mean to Bartolo Colon. It is thought that Colon is simply keeping the seat warm for Wheeler until he can return from Tommy John surgery but as we all know, injuries happen. Colon is durable and will likely make his 20 starts or more this season and will somehow continue to defy the odds in the National League. He may even run into a pitch or two and help you with your on-base percentage at the plate (yes I know that is not counted in most leagues for pitchers…. It’s a joke). Grab both if you can, especially Wheeler with say your last pick. Lots of wins there I think between the two. 

There you have it, those are the Mets. Hopefully the Mets can help you lead your team through the postseason and to the Promised Land much like Daniel Murphy led that team to the World Series in 2015. 

MLB, Diversity, a New Program and Rachael Robinson

Major League Baseball is one of the most diverse sports in the four major sports in North American with players of every ethnicity, color and shape playing while representing every corner of the globe. Rachel Robinson, the widow of the great Jackie Robinson, wants more diversity in the sport and Commissioner Rob Manfred is going to try and give it to her.

MLB has hired Tyrone Brooks from the Pittsburgh Pirates to be their senior director in their new front office and field staff diversity pipeline program. This new program is designed to increase the pool minority and female candidate for on-field and baseball operations positions around the league. Brooks will report directly to Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem after spending his time as the Pirates director of player personnel.

Renee Tirado was also hired by MLB to serve as a senior director of recruitment in the new program and will report directly to Steven Gonzalez, the senior vice president and deputy general counsel for labor and human resources for the league. Tirado recently left her job as head of diversity and inclusion at AIG before coming to work for Manfred and MLB.

Welcome both, do us proud.

Yankees the Only Team to NOT Sign a Free Agent this Winter

Here we stand on the final day of January and on the final day before we kick off Prospects Month and I don’t quite know how to feel. The Yankees have had a successful winter in some minds, they did acquire Aroldis Chapman for essentially very little and they did acquire Starlin Castro is a bit of a buy-low situation, but to some the winter has been a failure. The Yankees have not done much to address their starting pitching rotation and the team, surprisingly to some even though Brian Cashman revealed his plan early on, has not signed a single free agent this winter. New York is in fact the only team to not sign a major league free agent this winter.

Times be a changin’, no? In years past the Yankees would have not only signed the top free agent pitcher David Price and positional player Jason Heyward but they would have likely also signed Zack Greinke as well as Ben Zobrist. That’s a lot to feel nostalgic about but at the same time the Yankees would have likely traded Luis Severino by now as well as Robert Refsnyder, Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo and Gary Sanchez as well.

The Yankees made additions to the ball club without breaking the bank or really adding much payroll whatsoever. They did it via trade and they traded other not-so-useful contracts like Brendan Ryan in those deals to offset a bit of the salary. It’s a new strategy we haven’t seen used in New York, at least not in my lifetime, and I think I kind of like it. Sure I love sitting by my computer constantly refreshing MLB Trade Rumors like the next guy but I also hate mortgaging the future and giving a guy an extra year or a few million dollars too much just because the team is bidding against themselves.

It’s a new era in New York and it’s a new era in Major League Baseball. I wonder what the league will do to counteract this in their next collective bargaining agreement. Maybe a fine for not signing free agents now? Seems like something Bud Selig would do so thank goodness for Rob Manfred. 

Tim Lincecum is on the Yankees Radar

The New York Yankees have not signed a major league free agent for more than a calendar year now and have not signed any during the winter before the 2016 season. New York is the only team not to sign a MLB free agent this offseason but they have one pitcher on their radar that could change that, former San Francisco Giants and Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.

According to rumors the Yankees are at least interested in Lincecum as he prepares to put on a throwing showcase for teams next month in hopes of landing a new deal. While the deal will likely be, and should be in all honesty, a minor league deal teams like the Yankees may have to guarantee the deal in order to sweeten the pot a bit for Lincecum.

Lincecum is still only 31-years old and while injuries have derailed his career a tad the “freak” threw for his first positive WAR season (0.3 in 2015) since 2011 this year. Lincecum would bring the veteran presence that the Yankees love along with an absolute ton of playoff and World Series experience to a club on a very low risk and high reward type deal. Lincecum is no longer the ace he was in San Francisco but he still could be a solid #3 to place behind Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka or he could be a nice piece out of the bullpen as well. It all comes down to the health of his hip.

Early reports out of Lincecum’s camp say that he is healthier than he has been in years and is throwing every single day in preparation for the 2016 season. Of course the Lincecum camp is going to say that though, why wouldn’t they? The true test will be the showcase and while the team hasn’t formally announced it you have to think they will send scouts there to watch.

You have to think that all 30 MLB teams will be interested in Lincecum in some capacity so if the Yankees are truly serious about adding another low-cost arm they may have to pony up the 40 man roster spot and guaranteed deal with incentives for Lincecum. Honestly, I’m okay with that. It’s just money and the problem can be rectified with a simple DFA if it doesn’t work out. Get it done Cash before some other GM does. Or before Tom from Myspace does…

Quick Hit: Pace of Play Rules Tweaked Again

Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred has been in the top position overlooking the league for a little over a year now and the amount of change he has brought the league is astounding. I’ve listed his accomplishments and changes many times on the blog and you all probably know them by heart by now but one I haven’t paid much attention to is the pace of play changes.  Manfred wants to shave some time off the games and he did just that in 2015 but the Commissioner is far from done. Manfred announced more changes to his pace of play rules for the 2016 season and I bring them here to you today as an FYI.

MLB and the MLB Players Association have not finalized these plans yet, keep that in mind, but the two sides are working towards an agreement. Since these have not been finalized we do not have the entire and complete list to bring to you but we can confirm, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post anyway, that the league is trying to eliminate the slow walk to the mound and/or all the stalling tactics many managers use to give their relief pitcher a few more throws in the bullpen. The possibility of a time limit for making a pitching change has also been discussed. Also MLB is going to shave off another 20 seconds of commercial time in-between innings. Last season the fans had to wait 2:25 seconds during commercials and this season it will go down to 2:05 at the end of every half inning. The idea would be that the batter would be in the box with 20 seconds left on the commercial break timer while the pitcher would be required to throw the pitch once the timer hits zero.

I think the most important thing here is that Manfred is shaving time off the game without noticeable changes to the sport and game itself. This is keeping the purist happy, the traditionalist, the hardcore fans, the casual fans and the new fans alike happy and content I think. The best sort of change is change for the better but, and maybe this is the ignorance is bliss in me talking, the second best change is the change that you don’t notice. Well done Manfred and well done MLB. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/31: Prospects Month Eve

On this day in 2007 Major League Baseball announced that the 2008 All Star Game would be played at Yankee Stadium. The announcement was made at New York's Gracey Mansion and would mark the fourth time that the All Star Game would be played in the Bronx, the other three times in 1939, 1960, and 1977. This was also especially special because this would be the final season of Yankee Stadium before it was torn down for Yankee Stadium III.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 2009 World Series Game Six Here

The Yankees are back on top!

Fantasy Baseball: Who are the Minnesota Twins

If you’re anything like me your fantasy baseball drafts are coming up either sometime later this month or early next month. Some people like to draft as soon as Spring Training begins or even before, which I never understood FYI, but to each their own I guess. So much can happen between now and then. So many sleepers can emerge and so many stars can get injured while prospects can stand up and make a name for themselves making it impossible for the team to ignore. This is especially the case on small market teams that cannot simply outbid everyone else for a player’s services in free agency, a team like the Minnesota Twins perhaps.

Gone are the days of Johan Santana, Joe Mauer in his prime, Justin Morneau the MVP and Torii Hunter the spider and in are players such as Phil Hughes, former Yankee John Ryan Murphy and Korean import Byung-ho Park. 

Park was an absolute monster of a home run hitter during his last two seasons in Korea as he led the Korean Baseball Organization with 52 and 53 home runs respectively in 2014 and 2015. Even if the pitching is different and less difficult in Korea you have to think Park will run into at least 25 straight fastballs here in the states and could push 30-40 home run power. That’s hard to ignore in fantasy baseball, even if it comes with a .250 average and mediocre defense at first base. 

John Ryan Murphy will presumably be the everyday catcher in Minnesota but it’s hard to put a finger on what exactly to expect out of the young right-hander. I did like what I saw personally out of Murphy during his time in New York though. He showed a bit of power and he is a line drive hitter that is capable of a .275 average with plenty of doubles, on-base percentage and home runs if you don’t grab one of the top tier catchers in your draft. He’s a big risk to take and a relative unknown but I love the line drives that his swing produces and I think he can be a serviceable MLB catcher. 

Finally you have the defacto, or infacto depending on how you look at it, ace of the Minnesota Twins in Phil Hughes. Hughes was a monster in his first season with Minnesota as he rarely allowed a walk while striking out a healthy amount along the way. Hughes took a bit of a step back in 2015 and is no longer being relied on as the ace of the Twins staff, that distinction now belongs to Ervin Santana. If you need an ace don’t reach too high for Hughes but if you need around a 10.0 K/9 and 15 or so victories Hughes would be a great grab in the middle-to-later rounds. 

Those are your Minnesota Twins, hopefully one or two of them can help you own your Fantasy Baseball draft and league this season. Have a good night everyone!

What Will MLB Look Like in 10 Years?

Think about this for a second, as we sit here waiting on the snow to melt and the calendar to change and the 2016 regular MLB season to kick off just how much has changed in the last 10 seasons? How did Major League Baseball look back in the 2006 season when the Yankees were just beginning their downslide out of the Dynasty and when Joe Torre was just starting to feel the hot seat in the dugout? What was the state of the Yankees like when George Steinbrenner was aging and was finally willing to give some of the power back to Brian Cashman rather than fiddling with the day to day operations? Look at the Yankees lineup, only one man stands here on both lineup cards in Alex Rodriguez. Imagine how different this team will look and how different the landscape of Major League Baseball will look in another 10 years or so.

Commissioner Rob Manfred took over the top job in the sport from Bud Selig a little over one calendar year ago and look how much he has changed already. Instant replay has not only been enacted but expanded as well. Protective netting is going up around all 30 MLB ballparks to protect the fans, pace of play is being tweaked and pitch clocks are being used in the minor leagues. There’s also talk of adding the DH position to the National League, expanding the brand into Mexico, London, Cuba and other hot spots across the globe and streaming of MLB games is even going to become a thing in China of all places in 2017. The game and the brand is changing while the sport remains the same but what about in another 10 years?

Will we even have or need umpires? Honestly in 10 years we probably will but who is to say we will before my life comes to an end? With all the cameras and technology flying around the ballpark these days what’s the need?

You want to talk about MLB International, where do you think the games will be played in another 10 years? Whether regular season games or exhibition games as a part of spring training schedules I can totally see games being played all over Europe, South America, Canada, Asia, hell why not even Australia? The game is more global than it’s ever been and there are no signs of slowing down.

How does one grow a global game in a global market? International free agents help but within 10 years I feel like we will absolutely have an international draft that will happen after the regular season. You will still have your amateur draft in June but after the season while the Winter League games and leagues are being played there will be an International Draft as well.

Any game, any time, any device on any part of this green planet. If you thought MLB TV was great wait until you see the future. No more being blacked out because your local FOX station didn’t pick up your local game and no more using the whole “I was out of the country” as an excuse to miss a game. Everything will be at your fingertips and the Jetsons will be jealous.

Finally I think we may be seeing steps, even baby steps, in the self-driving vehicle department. Audi has already released a self-driving and self-parking car and many brands have cars that can parallel park themselves but how does this affect baseball? You ever try to park at the parking lots right up there close to the stadium? Easy way to drop 50 bucks or more for top games, I know I paid $40 in Atlanta to see the Yankees last year and that was with a mile and a half walk at least. With cars that can drive and park themselves new stadiums may opt to have parking farther away from the stadium and fill the closer sections with merchandise stands and concessions.

Will any of these happen? That I obviously cannot predict, I’m far from a prophet, but these are some of the things I can see happening in the sport in the next 10 years. I hope I’m still here ranting and raving and blogging about it then to tell you all I told you so. To the future, Marty!

In the Zombie Apocalypse Which Yankees Would I Want on my Side?

The month of February can be an eventful one in a guy’s life when you look at the big picture. First and foremost it’s the month that Valentine’s Day falls on so either you get to share the day with the love of your life, or the one you think is the love of your life anyway, and you’re happy or you’re the guy laughing at all the suckers being forced into buying the roses and chocolates and expensive dinners just because the calendar says so. You also have pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training camp and full team workouts while on this blog specifically you have the beginning of Prospects Month (two days away!). The most important part of February of all may be the fact that the AMC television program The Walking Dead comes back on this month as well which got me to thinking, what members of the Yankees would I want with me when the zombie apocalypse breaks out?

The key to any survival is getting in quick and getting out quicker so you’re going to need some speed, why not start at the top with Jacoby Ellsbury? For some reason he’s always reminded me of Glenn in the way that he could go on supply runs and never seem to get caught or die. Just as long as he doesn’t steal Maggie away from me…

Speaking of Maggie, who I find to be one of the most beautiful people on this planet, the player’s wife who would have to play Maggie and who is showcased on the Wives & Girlfriends section of the site would have to be the wife of Mark Teixeira. Although I’m a sucker for a brunette.

Back to the whole surviving thing though and as much as I like to think of myself we’re going to need a leader. We’re going to need our Rick. We’re going to need someone there that will do whatever it takes to not only survive but to flourish. We need a captain. Brian McCann is probably one of the biggest leaders on this team I know and one of the most intimidating figures on the team, ask Carlos Gomez.

For every Ying you need a Yang, the spiritual calm. The Morgan of the group. Didi Gregorius fits that mold quite well I think.

And finally every constable needs an assistant, a Michonne who is not afraid to get things done but also has the calm about her in the heat of the moment to keep the hot-headed McCann in line when necessary. Andrew Miller. 

We may have to let Miller grow his hair out again….

Meet a Prospect: Carlos Corporan

The latest member of the New York Yankees second wave of reinforcements is former Texas Rangers backup catcher Carlos Corporan. After tweeting out “Corpy Day” on every day that he got to start in Texas the young catcher will look to bring his talents and awesome tweeting skills to the Bronx after signing a minor league deal with the club. Corporan will receive an invitation to spring training and will compete directly with Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez for the honor of backing up Brian McCann this coming season. Many of you may know Corporan already but for those who don’t allow me to introduce you to the latest New York Yankee. This is Meet a Prospect, the Carlos Corporan Edition.

Carlos Fernando Corporan was born on January 7, 1984 in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Even as a young child Corporan stated he wanted to play professional baseball when he grew up and he took that mindset with him to Lake City Community College where he played for the school’s baseball team. Corporan was a shortstop then but it was at Lake City where he converted to a catcher and caught the attention of the Milwaukee Brewers who took him in the 12th round of the 2003 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft.

Corporan stayed in the Milwaukee farm system until finally getting his first call up to the Major Leagues in 2009 after Mike Rivera sprained his ankle and was forced to the disabled list. Corporan got a single at bat with the Brewers and made the most of his opportunity as he laced his first MLB hit off shortstop Paul Janish. After the 2009 season Corporan filed for free agency and ended up signing a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks with a similar invitation to spring training. Corporan spent the 2010 season with Arizona before latching on with the Houston Astros for the 2011 season on yet another minor league deal and another invitation to spring training.

Corporan played sparingly for the Astros in 2011 and 2012 before getting his first real shot at the major league level in 2013. Corporan played in a total of 64 games that season and hit for a .225 batting average with seven home runs and 20 RBI. That was enough to warrant one more season in Houston before being designated for assignment before the 2015 season. The Rangers acquired Corporan after the DFA and Corpy spent the season backing up Robinson Chirinos before electing for free agency once again this season. That is when the New York Yankees and Brian Cashman came calling with another minor league deal and yet another invitation to spring training.

Good luck Corpy and welcome to the family.

Quick Hit: Top Fantasy Sleepers for 2016

As the Hot Stove season comes down from a rapid boil to a simmer the fantasy baseball season begins to heat up as spring training draws closer. We have discussed many times this winter already ways to improve your late pick draft strategy in hopes of winning those later rounds and in turn your leagues and this morning I want to talk about a few sleepers that I have in mind for my own personal draft. Some are big names and others are at least recognizable names but many of them had down or irregular seasons in 2015, something I cannot see these players making a habit of in 2016. If you’re worried about your draft then give this a read and maybe even a bookmark to keep handy for your draft day, maybe it will help you!

Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto fit the same mold here because both are coming from either hitting friendly ballparks or somewhat neutral ballparks in terms of hitting vs. pitching. They won’t have that problem in San Francisco as AT&T Park is one of the biggest and best pitching ballparks in all of Major League Baseball. What is an upper deck shot inside Yankee Stadium doesn’t seem like it would reach the warning track in San Francisco making what Barry Bonds did there all the more special. If either are there later in the draft then snatch them up. Both of them.

The same can be said for starter, turned relief pitcher turned starter again Rich Hill. Hill came back into the league last season with the Boston Red Sox and pitched well enough to get a team like the Oakland Athletics to give him a shot as a starting pitcher. Hill should enjoy pitching inside the Oakland Coliseum more than he enjoyed the wacky dimensions inside Fenway Park. His defense behind him in Oakland, other than at shortstop with Marcus Semien, should be solid as well. He’s a good late round pick if you need wins.

Brett Lawrie is entering his prime years finally at age 26 and will be shifting to one of the more hitting friendly parks in U.S. Cellular Field. Lawrie will be eligible at first and third base for the White Sox this season and should see enough playing time at both positions to justify a real late pick.

Speaking of favorable park switches you have to think that Mark Trumbo and his power will enjoy hitting at Camden Yards and Oriole Park, ask Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz.

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/30: The Yankee Years

On this day in 2009 Joe Torre was on CNN's Larry King Live answering questions about his new book "The Yankee Years." The book caused a firestorm of reaction from former players, fans, and the Yankees organization just a week after its release.

Also on this day in 2007 The Yankees agreed to help establish baseball academies in China and sent coaches, scouts, and player development staff over to give a hand. Randy Levine, the Yankees team President, committed the Yankees to help the Chinese Baseball Association develop young talent while also trying to promote baseball to a community that does not know baseball.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Aroldis Chapman is on the scene

A few things to ponder as we await the start of the 2016 season… First and foremost, the Yankees have definitively announced that Aroldis Chapman will be their closer for the 2016 season. Chapman’s contract is set to end after the this season when he will be able to go into free agency, but his still to be determined forthcoming MLB suspension might change that (even though he wasn’t charged with a crime).
Reports have indicated that Chapman won’t face a long suspension, which would allow him to enter free agency after this year. Yankees fans should hope Chapman faces a lengthy suspension because it would allow the Yanks to hold onto him for another season. As a result, the Yankees would have about a year and a half to decide if they want to resign Chapman or let him go. On paper, the Yankees have a deadly bullpen. The trio of Chapman, Miller and Bentances will shorten the game.
The Yankees bullpen is a strength among a slew of question marks for the team. C.C. Sabathia is coming off a shortened season due to a combination of injuries and going to rehab for alcoholism. Ivan Nova was largely ineffective after returning from injury. Masahiro Tanaka performed well, but was nothing compared to the numbers he was putting up before he got injured. The offense is also the usual question mark, as it has been for the past few years. The Yankees are actively attempting to rebuild, which may or not may not work. That rebuilding effort could be considered a partial success in 2015, so there is some reason for optimism that the momentum can continue into this year and beyond.

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 2009 World Series Game Two HERE

The Yankees got spanked in Game One and in Game Two AJ Burnett comes up big against the Philadelphia Phillies and Yankees-rival Pedro Martinez. These looks back end when Prospects Month begins so let's get to the meat and potatoes of the Yankees last World Series championship, shall we?

Quick Hit: Rob Manfred’s Remaining Offseason Check List

Rob Manfred is barely into his second year as Commissioner of Major League Baseball and already he has left his mark on the game of baseball. Instant replay has been changed and expanded, Pete Rose was denied reinstatement back into the game once again, steroid testing gets tougher and tougher with every passing year, all teams will have Spanish translators working for them all season long, television deals are going through the roof, protective netting is being put up at all 30 MLB stadiums to protect the fans and among other things there is discussion about adding the designated hitter position to the National League. Manfred has a lot on his plate but he is far from done as he looks to expand and improve the game so here are a few key notes he is still working on today as we inch closer to spring training and the 2016 regular season.

Baseball’s strike zone is getting bigger and bigger and is especially growing low in the zone. At one time the strike zone was defined as at the top of the hitter’s kneecap to right around the letters on the chest part of his uniform. It has since been changed to the hollow beneath the kneecap and many are complaining that the strike zone is simply too low. This changed after the 1995 season and will likely be part of the new CBA in 2017, not before. 

The league is also talking about playing regular season games in London as soon as the 2017 season. Manfred did say the league was working hard to play there but it would have to be later on in the season due to weather. With travel delays and such you would have to wonder if it would be sometime around the All-Star break when these teams would make the travel across the pond. 

Manfred is picking up where former Commissioner Bud Selig left off as the league still works towards and strives for an international draft. Manfred said nothing is imminent on this matter but he said “we were closer to getting there in certain rounds of bargaining than people may have understood and probably it was a mistake not to push it across the finish line” in a recent interview at the owners meetings in Florida. 

Manfred states the league is still investigating the domestic violence charges against the Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. Manfred and the league need to decide whether to suspend one or all of them under the league’s newly formed domestic violence policy. 

Fantasy Baseball: Who are the Milwaukee Brewers?

Fantasy Baseball season will be here before you know it, if it’s not already here for some, and I have been focusing on some of the players you can draft later on in your draft that can win you your league. With a team like the Milwaukee Brewers you know that Ryan Braun is going to carry the team and you know that even in a down year like 2015 Jonathan Lucroy is still going to be one of the better catchers in the league but what about a few of the names that you don’t necessarily know? Names like Jimmy Nelson, Chris Carter, Will Smith and Corey Knebel.

Jimmy Nelson enters 2016 ready for his age 26 season and ready to be the ace for the Milwaukee Brewers. Nelson has struggled with his control to date but he is a physical pitcher that can give you wins with a low ERA. Nelson is not a huge strikeout guy and is more of a pitch to contact type pitcher with a nice ground ball rate and may be available around Round 15 or later. He’s not David Price or Zack Greinke but he’d be a fine fourth or fifth starter on your team, especially in those leagues that are especially deep.

Chris Carter, former Houston Astro, looks to be the starting first baseman in Milwaukee in 2016 which could be a good thing for you if you’re looking for some power. Carter may hit 30-40 home runs a year with Braun hitting behind him or in front of him in the Brewers lineup but the problem is he’s likely to only add about a .220 average along with it and not many RBI. If you need a home run guy later in the draft that is almost guaranteed to play every day then Carter is your guy. If you need a mix of power, speed, runs scored and average then stay away from Carter because he’s not going to give it to you.

Finally the Brewers look like they will have a closer by committee or an intense competition this spring for the newly vacated closer spot left behind by the trade of Francisco Rodriguez. Vying for the saves in Milwaukee will be Will Smith, Corey Knebel and even Jeremy Jeffress may get a shot or two to close. Smith is a high strikeout guy averaging almost 13 K’s per nine innings while Knebel, just 23-years old, had almost 10 K’s per nine in 2015. All three could get chances to close games this season and as you know even the team with the worst records still have closers who save 30-40 games almost every single season.

Those are my picks, if I overlooked or over-valued someone please let me know below in the comments section or by sending me a tweet on twitter @GreedyStripes. 

USA Today Ranks All 30 MLB Starting Rotations

It’s almost baseball time ladies and gentleman, can you feel it? The fields are being manicured, the grass is being cut and we’re already seeing on Twitter how players are heading down south to get a head start on bullpen sessions and early season workouts. Spring training is just around the corner and so is the 2016 MLB season, get hyped. The USA Today is hyped and this week ranked all 30 MLB teams by their starting rotations. How will Zack Greinke affect the Diamondbacks rotation ranking and how far will David Price push the Boston Red Sox rotation up the charts? How far will the Yankees fall after not adding a significant piece to their starting five this winter? Keep reading to find out.

We will bring you the list only and not the write-ups except for the Yankee-specific material. If you want to read the write-ups on all 30 MLB teams head over HERE to the USA Today to read their work and give them a much deserved click or two.

30. Atlanta Braves
29. Philadelphia Phillies
28. Milwaukee Brewers
27. Los Angeles Angels
26. Colorado Rockies
25. Minnesota Twins
24. Baltimore Orioles
23. Cincinnati Reds
22. Kansas City Royals
21. Detroit Tigers
20. Toronto Blue Jays
19. Oakland Athletics
18. Miami Marlins
17. Texas Rangers
16. San Diego Padres
15. New York Yankees

I entered this exercise expecting to put the Yankees near the bottom of the list, and ended it tempted to rank them in the Top 10. Truth is, it’s easy to envision them landing on either end of the spectrum: Their top four starters all come with great stuff and huge question marks. How they fare will depend on the health of Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda and the success of Luis Severino in his first full big-league season.

14. Tampa Bay Rays
13. Boston Red Sox
12. Pittsburgh Pirates
11. Seattle Mariners
10. Arizona Diamondbacks
9. San Francisco Giants
8. Houston Astros
7. Los Angeles Dodgers
6. Chicago White Sox
5. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Cleveland Indians
3. Washington Nationals
2. New York Mets

1. Chicago Cubs

Hal Steinbrenner’s Comments & Why I’m Not Worried

Every season since Hal Steinbrenner has prominently owned the New York Yankees, and by the way where in the world is Hank Steinbrenner, he has made some speech around this time of the year about the upcoming season and the state of the organization and team. Every single season, to paraphrase a bit, he feels like the team is a “World Series caliber team” that can do well this season if they stay healthy and every single season he has something to say about the payroll. This year it was the fact that he was not “comfortable” with seeing the payroll rise much above where it is now, which FYI is the second highest in the league behind those pesky Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Yankees world and blogosphere went absolutely nuts.

Everyone has an opinion and I try to listen and understand each and every opinion I am presented with but that doesn’t mean I necessarily have to agree with it. Everything that I have read is negative about Hal not wanting to add even more payroll to the club and everyone acts as if the sky is falling. If that was the case the sky has been falling since George Steinbrenner gave control over to his two sons because this is the way it’s been for a while now. We all knew Hal was the fiscally responsible one and the better son to run the business side of the Yankees and that’s what Hal is doing. We all knew that he wanted to get under the luxury tax rather than piss away millions of dollars every single season to go home early in the postseason or not reach it at all and you know what, it’s the right path to take.

I know, one day I’m defending Brian Cashman and the next I’m defending Hal but hear me out. Throwing money at the problem does not work anymore as much as we the fans don’t want to admit it. The Dodgers don’t have a cap on their spending and they paid almost the same amount as the entire Tampa Bay Rays team to players that are no longer with the club and they still have as many World Series rings as the Yankees have. They have the best pitcher on the planet, they sign all the Cuban-born stars they want and they sign anyone and everyone they want on the free agent market. That and a buck can get them a Coke in the postseason, just like the Yankees.

Everyone is acting as if Hal is warning everyone that the payroll is going to go down to like $120 million or something. You can absolutely win a World Series with a payroll around $180 million (or higher as the luxury tax threshold is expected to go up with the next collective bargaining agreement) as long as you don’t have mega-contracts weighing the organization down. The biggest contract of them all being the contract that GEORGE gave Mr. Alex Rodriguez, not Cashman and not Hal. 

ICYMH: Jordan Barnes & Our Exclusive Interview

Every year around this time the New York Yankees, like any team, begin cleaning house in the lower levels of their minor league system and begin cutting and releasing players you have generally never heard of. One of these players was a former second round pick in Angelo Gumbs and one was a player who I held near and dear to my heart, Jordan Barnes. I immediately was drawn to Barnes after being drafted by New York because my wife was, see her maiden name was Barnes. I immediately reached out to Jordan and asked for an interview and we discussed many things in and out of the interview. I bring to you this morning a throwback Thursday, on a Friday, just In Case You Miss Him. Our exclusive interview with Yankees draft pick Jordan Barnes.

We are very excited to bring you another interview today as a part of Prospects Month, this time with Jordan Barnes. This is the second time we have been able to interview Mr. Barnes, my wife's favorite player since Barnes is her maiden name, and are excited to catch back up with him. Enjoy!

The Greedy Pinstripes:  Kudos for being so open about your faith, how do you think that has helped you in your life and your career?

Jordan Barnes: I believe my open faith has had a tremendous amount to do with why I have been so successful in life and my career. I put God first in everything that I do and I give him glory for everything that he has blessed me with.

TGP: What are you listening to these days?

JB: I listen to a lot of Rap and Hip Hop music.

TGP: Thoughts on the Yankees losing Robinson Cano?

JB: I think it was a tough decision because he is such a talented player but it is all a part of the business. We have many talented guys in our organization that can step into his place.

TGP: What are you doing this offseason to improve on your 2013 season?

JB: I train heavily. I Workout 7 days a week most of the time twice daily. A lot of weight training , speed training, defensive work and hitting.

TGP: What do you do during the offseason to keep yourself occupied?

JB: Training & spending time with my friends and family and spending time with my girl.

TGP: I see you like Lone Survivor, that movie is freaking intense no? Kind of makes me never want to go to war. Great movie though.

JB: Yeah I’ve watched it about 10 times. It was a great movie.

TGP: Favorite restaurant to eat at?

JB: Cheesecake Factory
TGP: How tough is it to be on the road so much and know your girlfriend is at home waiting for you?

JB: It isn’t too bad. She understands the game and is a huge supporter of me and my career and she knows that baseball comes first and that’s my main focus when I’m away playing.

Your girl can cook, what time is dinner?

JB: It's usually around 7 but Yes she is a great cook. She lives up to her last name quite well. I have it pretty good.

TGP: Is that old woman with the wrong number looking for her daughter still calling you all the time? lol

JB: haha she occasionally does it .

TGP: Your a Yankees guy and a speed guy, I assume your a fan of the "speed kills" mentality that the Yankees are likely to throw out there with Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury in the outfield?

JB: Yes that’s the mentality that I play with. You cant teach speed.

TGP: I think this answer may be obvious but in my time around social media I have noticed there are two kinds of fans when it comes to prospects. You have the "prospect humpers" (myself being a self professed prospect humper) and a name yet to be determined (due to my lack of creativity) describing those who want to sell all the prospects off for the 37 year old "sure thing." Which category do you think yourself as a fan falls into?

JB: The second one

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

JB: Torii Hunter

TGP: I know you probably don't think of things like this but how long before you think we could see you in the Major Leagues? I have your ETA down as late 2017, is that accurate?

JB: I’ll say around 2017-2018.

TGP: If you could be the Yankees GM for a day what would you do? Don't have to really be realistic here.

JB: Have Ken Griffey Jr. make a comeback and play for the Yankees.

Most famous person in your cell phone?

JB: Bill Selby my former Northwest Mississippi Community College Coach he hit a walk off grand slam off of the greatest of all time Mariano Rivera when he was playing with the Indians.

Most embarrassing song in your iPod?

JB: Without a doubt beauty and a beat by Justin Bieber.

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

JB: Playing in front of thousands in Yankee Stadium.

Thank you Jordan for taking the time once again for us to do an interview, we really appreciate it. We hope you have a great season and can't wait to see you moving through this system. You can follow Jordan on Twitter by following @J_Barnes213.

Good luck Jordan and keep in touch!!!

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/29: Jimmy Key hangs it up

On this day in 1999 Jimmy Key decided to call it a career after suffering from multiple shoulder injuries. The 37 year old appeared in the playoffs with every team he played for including the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees, and the Baltimore Orioles.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 2003 World Series Game Five HERE

Game Five of the 2003 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Florida Marlins.

Yankees Avoid Arbitration w/ Ivan Nova

Yankees Almost Acquired Jose Reyes?

The New York Yankees almost made me look like an idiot and the Colorado Rockies are the ones left with egg on their face. What do I mean? The New York Yankees and the Colorado Rockies must have been reading my blogs because they attempted to hook up on a trade involving Reyes before the July 31st trade deadline came to a close. After a winter where Reyes was charged with domestic violence issues this could have been a disaster for the Yankees, a disaster that I asked for many times while blogging this winter.

Reportedly Colorado asked for “big-time” prospects back in return for Reyes at the trade deadline according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and the Yankees were one of the teams that were interested. The Yankees were interested in Reyes and his, at the time, $54.37 million contract as a second baseman as long as Colorado was willing to pay at least some of the contract down. It’s unclear whether the two sides got really close on a deal but you have to think that Colorado is kicking themselves right now if the two sides were close.

So instead of Starlin Castro manning second base for the Yankees this season it could have been Jose Reyes. How interesting that could have been to see Reyes back in New York. 

What Would a DH in the NL Mean for 2017?

The current collective bargaining agreement that has allowed Major League Baseball to go another four seasons without a work stoppage is set to expire after the 2016 MLB season. While there are no indications that a work stoppage or strike is imminent and while all signs point to continued labor peace between the players and the league in 2017 and beyond that doesn’t mean this set of negotiations is going to be a walk in the park for either side. The biggest ticket items over the last two CBA’s were steroids and with testing stronger than it’s ever been, and whether it’s working or not saved for an entirely different blog post, the new big ticket items will be luxury tax thresholds, profit sharing and whether the designated hitter position would come to the National League as soon as the 2017 season when the new CBA takes effect.

What would it mean if the National League got the DH position? Well almost immediately offense would go up around the NL which would bring more casual fans to the ballpark and in front of their televisions which has been one of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s ultimate goals in his year-plus as being the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. This is just my opinion but I don’t feel that I’m that far off base but National League baseball has a slower tempo to American League Baseball and at times it can be extremely boring. Sure the suicide squeeze by the 8th hitter in the lineup in the bottom of the 8th inning is one of the most exciting plays in baseball but we’re talking about the casual fan and trying to attract people who are not currently watching the game, not the hardcore fans that know this can happen. By the time the bottom of the 8th come along those fans have changed the channel or gone to bed. Having an automatic out in the 9th spot four or five times a night and sometimes in the 8th spot as well as you sacrifice defense and fundamentals for offense can be boring, predictable and is not a good selling point when trying to sell newcomers to the game.

Secondly this would allow National League teams and their fans to enjoy having one player play for the team for their entire career. While this doesn’t happen nearly as much as it used to or as much as it should it would increase slightly with the DH in the National League. Too many times have we seen players who have lost a step in the National League be forced to come to the American League because of the DH position. This would also open the potential pool of teams vying for a DH candidate from 15 teams to 30 teams which would in turn extend players careers who still have the ability to hit but lose out to a simple numbers game, see Raul Ibanez and Jason Giambi as recent examples of this.

I know I am may be a bit bias since I am an American League fan and a fan of the New York Yankees but I think the DH is good for baseball and is good for everyone involved. No one watched the NFL team that flirts with 0-16 and no one watches the NBA team that is flopping in order to gain the possible first draft pick overall, why should they watch a pitcher who (and this is generalizing all pitchers, I understand that some pitchers actually can hit consistently) is 85-90% of the time going to strikeout or make an out? If I wasn’t a fan of MLB and I started watching a National League team while trying to get into the sport I would likely get frustrated pretty quickly as a novice fan. “Why are they taking so-and-so out with only 80 pitches in the 6th inning? He’s only down by one run” or “Why are they leaving in so-and-so to bat when the team is down by only one run and there is a base runner in scoring position, we could have scored there if you pinch hit so-and-so!” It’s frustrating, it’s not helping the sport in my opinion and it’s a progressive thing to do. The hardcore “never change what isn’t broken” fans won’t agree with this but the sport doesn’t have to try and lure those fans in, they are already here. What the sport needs, assuming Manfred really wants to grow the sport and the brand, is more offense, less pitchers hitting and the DH position in the National League. 

Yankees Yearly Question about Retired Jersey Numbers

Bill Dickey, The "Man Nobody Knows"

The New York Yankees organization and brand is one of the most recognizable in not only Major League Baseball but maybe around the world. For the longest time everyone wanted to be a Yankee and were honored to don the Yankees pinstripes no matter what number was on their back. Recently it seems like players either don’t want to play for the Yankees for whatever reason, their archaic facial hair policy for one and lack of spending recently for another, which may be a good thing or a bad thing for the organization. It’s a bad thing because the recognizable names and star players is what drives the financial monster that is the New York Yankees but it’s a good thing because the team is running out of numbers to retire.

We post some sort of post like this every single season only because every single season it seems to be getting worse and worse for New York. Logically speaking the Yankees have room for 101 uniform numbers during the season including 0, 00 and 1 through 99 but the true options for Yankees players is dwindling down. We’ve seen the Yankees spring training invited share numbers for two seasons in a row and after New York brings its entire 40 man roster, non-roster invitees and a mix of non-Rule 5 Draft eligible players to Tampa next month it looks like the players will have to share for a third straight season. New York has yet to announce their full list of non-roster invitees but it will likely be somewhere around the 27 they brought to camp last season bringing the tally to 67 players in uniform with the 40 man roster.

When you consider the Yankees need numbers for eight uniformed coaches and a bullpen catcher you find the number climbing to 76 guys before you even consider the massive number of retired numbers the Yankees no longer have in circulation. The Yankees have retired 20 different uniform numbers in their history including two different players, Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey, who wore #8 and Mariano Rivera and Jackie Robinson’s shared #42 inside Monument Park. That’s also before you consider that the Yankees won’t hand out Derek Jeter’s #2, Paul O’Neill’s #21 or the list of other numbers the team refuses to hand out.

Will the Yankees be the first team to head into triple digits after becoming the first team to even retire a number team wide? It sure is looking like it, isn’t it? Until next year when we have even more numbers retired (presumably) and even less to talk about in terms of spring training jerseys. 

2016 Yankees Statistical Predictions: The Bench

The New York Yankees have one thing this team has lacked much of in a long, long time, a suitable bench and a major league backup at every single position. The Yankees have not only built a team around depth and versatility but they also have a strong bench that could get an absolute ton of playing time in 2016. Think about it this way, this team is heavily reliant on the offense of Brian McCann, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira much like in 2015 but this time around Rodriguez won't have to play over 150 games. This time around the Yankees can plug in suitable backups without missing much of a step thanks to a strong bench, but just how strong will the bench be?

Aaron Hicks
70 games, .263 average, 13 HR, 40 RBI

Dustin Ackley
91 games, .255 average, 12 HR, 39 RBI

Gary Sanchez
82 games, .271 average, 19 HR, 66 RBI

Robert Refsnyder
54 games, .288 average, 7 HR, 31 RBI

Greg Bird
50 games, .266 average, 15 HR, 41 RBI