Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Labral Tears: THROWING ATHLETES MOST FEARED INJURY (A simplified guide)

Now that the smoke has cleared on the news that Greg Bird has a right labral tear requiring surgery, let's talk about this Boogeyman (known as a labral tear) and what this really means.


Yankees Prospects Night Open Thread featuring Juan De Leon

Juan De Leon was one of the Yankees top targets from their 2014 international free agent spending spree. De Leon signed a deal worth $2 million and will bring his big bat and right field arm into the organization for the foreseeable future. The above video is some batting practice and live-game at bats from various Instructional leagues and such with the team. Enjoy the rest of your evening. 

Prospects Month Quick Primer on Grade Meanings

Good evening everyone and welcome to Prospects Month. This month of February is the month that we dedicate almost solely to prospects as we prepare for not only the Major League 2016 season but the Minor League 2016 season as well. Over the course of the month we are going to be throwing a lot of names, scouting reports and terminology around that some of you may or may not be familiar with. I know back in 2004 I didn’t know a lick about prospects other than that they brought the team the top talent around the league in trades. It was the 2005 season that I decided to truly take a look at what prospects meant to the organization and how they were graded. This morning I will attempt to explain how they are graded so when you see a grading you can know just what that grade means in the grand scheme of things. If you have any questions leave them in the comments section below and/or tweet us at @GreedyStripes on Twitter. 

Grade A: These prospects are elite or more commonly referred to as “blue chip” prospects. These prospects “can’t miss” and have good chances of becoming stars and superstars. These prospects are thought to be MLB regulars within a year or two of reaching the Major Leagues. Think Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor, they were Grade A prospects. 

Grade B: These prospects are stuck in the middle of common players and guaranteed star players. Some Grade B prospects will develop into stars and some will flop, Brett Lawrie is a good example of a Grade B prospect that flopped while his replacement Josh Donaldson was never considered to be a Grade A prospect but found stardom anyway. Most Grade B prospects spend several years in the major leagues in some capacity. 

Grade C: These prospects all have something going for them but also come with obvious holes in their game. For example, Kyle Roller could hit the ball over the fence 20 times a season but his defense was borderline atrocious, his base running and base stealing was almost non-existent and his batting average and walk totals were nothing to write home about. Other Grade C prospects are also too far away from the Major Leagues to get a good feel for or an accurate representation of. These players may grow into Grade B or Grade A players but it is obviously not guaranteed. 

To put this all into English a Grade C prospect down in Staten Island may be the next Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino or Greg Bird… or maybe they won’t be. It’s too hard to tell right now. A Grade C prospect in Triple-A is an Austin Romine type who may develop as a backup or a part-time player but is very unlikely to reach stardom in the show. Grade B prospects could take the league by storm and dominate for a long stretch of their career or they may just be the gritty Brett Gardner who continues to put up good numbers consistently over his career without many non-Yankees fans knowing it. Grade A prospects are your Bryce Harper’s and Mike Trout’s when they were prospects. You know what these players will become eventually. 

So there you have it, the grades are in. Now let’s get on with this Prospects Month!

Staten Island Yankees Announce 2016 Coaching Staff


STATEN ISLAND- As Spring Training approaches, the Staten Island Yankees have been assigned the following field staff by the New York Yankees:

Dave Bialas – Manager

Bialas enters his second season in the New York Yankees organization after managing the Tampa Yankees to a 66-72 record in 2015. A seasoned veteran of professional baseball, Bialas’ career began in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization after being drafted in the 4thround in 1972 out of Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas. The native Texan played ten seasons in the Cardinals’ system, reaching as high as AAA. Bialas also managed AAA Springfield/Louisville (STL, 1982-83 & ‘86), AA Arkansas (STL, 1984 & ’90), Single A St. Petersburg (STL, 1985-89 & ’91-92), AA West Tenn (CHC, 2000-01) and AAA Iowa (CHC, 2012). Bialas has a wide range of coaching experience outside of managing minor league clubs as he spent time as the bullpen coach for the San Diego Padres (1993-94) and Chicago Cubs (1995-99), third base coach for the Cubs (2002), minor league field coordinator for the Cubs (2003-11), and minor league coordinator for the Atlanta Braves (2013-14). The highlight of Bialas’ managing career came in 2000 as he led the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx to a league championship for the first and only time.

Eric Duncan – Hitting Coach

Duncan enters his second season as hitting coach for the Baby Bombers after guiding Staten Island to NYPL top-four finish is both runs (344) and home runs (32) en route to the McNamara Division title in 2015. Prior to coaching in professional baseball, Duncan served as a volunteer coach at Seton Hall for three years while pursuing his degree in political science. Duncan was drafted by the New York Yankees in the first round, 27th overall, in the 2003 draft. Duncan returns to Staten Island after a short stint with the Baby Bombers in 2003. In only 14 games with Staten Island in 2003, Duncan drove in 13 runs while batting .373 with two home runs, four triples and five doubles. The highly touted prospect earned the honor of Arizona Fall League MVP in 2005, a year that featured future MLB stars Matt Kemp, Joey Votto and Adam Jones. In 2006, Duncan was named Top Rookie for the New York Yankees in Spring Training. The New Jersey native made it as high as AAA in his career playing for four different organizations: New York Yankees (2003-09), Atlanta Braves (2010), St. Louis Cardinals (2011) and Kansas City Royals (2012).

Teuris Olivares – Defensive Coach

Olivares enters his second season as defensive coach of the Staten Island Yankees after helping the Baby Bombers reach the NYPL Championship in 2015. Olivares began his professional baseball career as a player in the New York Yankees organization in 1996. The Dominican Republic native worked his way through the system until 2004, reaching as high as AAA. Olivares then played independent baseball from 2005-10 for Newark, Camden, Somerset and the Road Warriors before rejoining the Yankees organization as a coach for the Dominican Summer League Yankees from 2011-14.


“I’m proud to be a Yankee, no doubt about it. It’s a world class organization. I’m looking forward to being in Staten Island and working with the younger guys, including the college draftees. The biggest pleasure I have is working with the young players and having the chance to teach them how to play Yankees baseball.” – Dave Bialas, Manager


TGP Prospects Month Top 29 Prospects List - #28

Yesterday we kicked off Prospect Month and we kicked off our reveal of the Top 29 (or 30 if you read the article) Prospects List like we do every day of Prospects Month. Today will be no different as we take the next step towards the top with the #28 prospect in the Yankees system, Mr. Austin DeCarr. DeCarr was drafted in the 2014 MLB First Year Players Draft out of Salisbury Prep School. DeCarr decided to head to the Prep School rather than college after undergoing a surgery on his elbow to remove bone spurs and thought it would be the best case scenario for himself and his future, seems like it worked out well for him.

DeCarr is another one of those big framed pitchers the Yankees love to draft standing at 6'3" and weighing in at 220 lbs. DeCarr uses that big body to throw in the 92-94 MPH range and can touch 96 when he has to. DeCarr also has a power curveball and a changeup, albeit raw at this point. You have to expect some control and command issues, especially with secondary pitches, with "high school" pitchers though but it was good enough for DeCarr to land on our Top Prospects list at the #28 position.

Austin DeCarr
6' 3" - 220 lbs - RHP 

28. Austin DeCarr
29. Thairo Estrada
30. James Pazos

DeCarr was much higher on the list but as you can see by the stat line the righty missed the 2015 season due to injury. DeCarr is finally deemed healthy after having Tommy John surgery in 2014 and should be back sometime in 2016 as he looks to climb back to the top of this list. 

Examining Possible Late Offseason Additions

It's a matter of weeks, not months before Spring Training begins. To this point, the Yankees are the only team that has not signed a free agent to a major league deal. The Yankees have upgraded through trades, but it is still a fun trivia fact. The days when the Yankees staked a claim on the top tier free agents are gone. The Yankees roster is almost set, but there are still some free agents that could end up with the Yankees as Spring Training Approaches Let's take a look at some players who could make sense for the Yankees.

Third Baseman - Brian Cashman has stated that the current plan is to use Starlin Castro as the backup third baseman allowing them to use the 25th roster spot as a rotating spot as needed. Despite that if Castro doesn't seem to be up to snuff defensively the Yankees could take a look at the market.

Pedro Alvarez - Pedro started as a third baseman, but he ended up moving across the diamond. He probably could still play third a few times a week and would also be a real backup first baseman. Alvarez is a power hitter but doesn't hit for average and isn't solid defensively but he's worth looking into.

Juan Uribe - After a few solid years as a starter Uribe has turned into an above average backup middle infielder. Uribe is still likely looking at a guaranteed deal, but a one-year deal at around $2 million for a true back-up at 2B, 3B and emergency at SS is something Hal would approve of.

Starting Pitcher - The Yankees gave up some depth when they traded Adam Warren. The pitching depth chart is currently seven deep by my count, but more depth is never a bad thing.

Cliff Lee - Lee has stated that he will only continue playing in the perfect opportunity. With not too many teams knocking on his door the perfect opportunity may be the one that wants him. Lee turned down the Yankees once before; his wife didn't like the way Yankees fans treated her in the 2009 World Series but perhaps time heals those wounds. Lee would likely only cost a minor league deal.

Tim Lincecum - The 2x Cy Young winner is likely moving on from the San Francisco Giants this year and is scheduled to throw for interested teams this month. He wants to remain a starter, but I think his velocity is more likely to rebound in the bullpen. It will be interesting to see how he pitches in the showcase and that could determine whether or not he gets a minor league or major league deal.

Mat Latos - Latos is 28 and had good years in 2013 and 2014. Last year he was terrible for three different teams and has perceived attitude issues. He cost himself a lot of money and years with his play in 2015, but some team will still likely take a shot on him as a one-year deal. He is going to be looking for a guaranteed rotation spot which is something the Yankees cannot provide unless a starter goes down with an injury. Latos may be unsigned into Spring Training to wait for an opportunity.

Chad Billingsley - It seems like the past few years the Yankees have been connected to Billingsley regardless of actual interest. Billingsley spent most of the year in Triple-A and hasn't pitched more than 37 innings since 2012. There is no harm in poking around on him, though.

Relief Pitcher

Tyler Clippard - The Yankees do a good job of churning out serviceable middle relievers. Last year the Yankees had eight homegrown relievers pitch out of the bullpen. They aren't necessarily looking for an upgrade but if the Yankees have any concerns about stability they could be addressed by reuniting with Clippard on a one-year deal with an option.

Greg Holland - Holland would be an interesting candidate to sign to a Major League deal as he would not help the Yankees this year. That would be a fun piece of trivia. Holland is currently recovering from Tommy John Surgery and will miss the entire 2016 season. Like Jon Lieber and David Aardsma he is a candidate for a two-year deal in the hopes he contributes in 2017.

Of the players on this list the only player, I'd like for the Yankees to sign is Holland only because he was still his dominant self until Tommy John surgery. If the Yankees sign anyone else this season, it probably means the injury bug struck again.

Meet a Prospect: Ben Gamel

Ben Gamel has seemingly finally put it all together for the New York Yankees. Gamel enjoyed a spectacular season in 2015 spending much of it in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. Gamel led off for the eventual playoff bound RailRiders and played center field for the club in a strong season that eventually led to a Minor League Player of the Year Award. Gamel was finally rewarded for his hard work and dedication to the sport and now the Yankees rewarded him with a 40 man roster spot and protection from the Rule 5 Draft, let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: Ben Gamel Edition.

Gamel fits the Brett Gardner mold. He has a small frame at just 5'11" and 185 lbs. and Gamel lives and dies on his speed and defense. Gamel played center field and led off for much of the 2015 season with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders and is a left-handed hitter, again just like Gardner.

Gamel began adding extra-base hits and stolen bases to his repertoire in 2012 while with the Double-A Trenton Thunder and ended up leading the club to a Eastern League championship that season. Any scout will tell you that the power tool will be the last to develop and that has definitely been the case with Gamel. Gamel can put on an absolute show in batting practice though so and feels like it may finally be translating into the games.

Gamel is a very patient hitter and is never going to be a 30-home run guy, that's not his game. What Gamel will bring you is singles, singles turned into double with his legs and aggressiveness, doubles turned into triples for the same reasons and a constant presence on the base-paths that opposing starting pitchers are forced to pay attention to at all times. Gamel expects to play left field in the Major Leagues due to an average arm although he could survive at center field if needed to. In a lot of ways Gamel compares to Angel Pagan of the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants and comes with an ETA of 2016. One injury and Gamel is there.

Greg Bird to Miss 2016.... Now What?

I love having prospects related news to discuss on Prospects Month but the worst kind of news possible broke yesterday just in time for the kickoff of Prospects Month, the Yankees had their first major injury of the 2016 season. It was announced that Greg Bird would undergo shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum that would ultimately end his 2016 season before it began. The Yankees have Mark Teixeira at first base and it was expected that Bird would start out at Triple-A anyway but what will New York do now that they are without the Birdman of New York for next season?

Well as I said Mark Teixeira is the starting first baseman but who is the projected backup? Well according to Brian Cashman the backup is Dustin Ackley, another left-handed platoon option. The Yankees also have both Chase Headley and Brian McCann who have spent time at the position inside Yankees pinstripes. That's all good and well but what about Plan C's and such plus do we really know who starts at the position in Scranton next season?

Tyler Austin is the most likely scenario here after spending time at the position in the Arizona Fall League this season. Austin has seemingly gone from about a 5th or 6th outfielder in a very crowded outfield in Scranton to likely being the team's starting first baseman with a true shot at the Major Leagues if an injury were to occur. Austin is a right-handed bat although his bat has been pretty hit or miss in recent years. He's either one or he's off, no in-between, but Austin has a true shot at winning back the hearts and minds of the Yankees organization.

New York could always go out and sign a minor league first baseman or a major league option on a minor league deal but that kind of seems unlikely at this point. It seems like Austin and the list of backup options or bust if Teixeira were to go down with an injury in his contract season. Let's hope it's more Austin and less bust, shall we?

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/2: Bud Selig is Rich!

On this day in 2009 the world learned just how much of a crook Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig really was. A report was released by the Sports Business Journal showing that Bud's salary for the 2007 season was $18.35 million. This would make him better paid than most of the superstars in the game at that time with the exception of Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Roger Clemens. Conveniently those four were all on the Yankees at the time of the report.

Maybe that is why Bud hates the Yankees so much, the whole "I don't like things bigger than me" thing.