Tuesday, February 9, 2016

TGP Prospects Month Open Thread featuring James Kaprielian

We don't have much professional work to go on with Yankees 2015 first round pick but we do have a few innings from his time at Staten Island so I bring that to you tonight. Kaprielian was drafted out of college considered to be Major League ready already and the young right-hander did nothing to make scouts and doubters think any differently in 2015. Here are just a few of the impressive pitches that Kaprielian threw during his professional debut with the Yankees. Enjoy.

What about CJ Riefenhauser?

The New York Yankees already have what many would consider to be a super bullpen and one of the best bullpen trios possibly in Major League history so why would the team be potentially looking at adding yet another arm to the mix? Because they are the Yankees and I’m only suggesting it because we put the “greedy” in The Greedy Pinstripes. On a serious note though while the Yankees likely don’t need another relief pitcher one just became available that makes a bit of sense for a team that’s looking towards the future and looking to get younger. His name is CJ Riefenhauser.

While I don’t look forward to typing out Riefenhauser for the next few seasons in New York I would put that on the backburner if the Yankees were to sign him. The Baltimore Orioles recently designated Riefenhauser for assignment to make room for Odrisamer Despaigne leaving the 26-year old up for grabs for the other 29 teams in the league. The draft order goes according to record and puts whatever league the player is in at the forefront so the Yankees would pick in front of 17 other teams but why would they take him? His stats surely don’t make him look like an attractive piece but does he have a saving grace?

First and foremost the Yankees have shown an uncanny ability to take anyone and everyone and make them better in their bullpen. New York is to bullpen pitchers what the St. Louis Cardinals are to starting pitchers and Riefenhauser already has the talent necessary to make him a great bullpen arm, he just needs the confidence to back it up. Riefenhauser is left-handed and while he’s struggled in a small sample size in the majors he was brilliant down in Triple-A. Riefenhauser boasts a 2.15 career MiLB ERA in three seasons and has been especially good against left-handed bats. Riefenhauser won’t blow anyone away, he stays around 89-90 MPH, but he can keep hitters guessing with his slider and changeup.

The Yankees need another southpaw and LOOGY type like they need another hole in the head but the talent is there and the production has been there in the minor leagues. He may be one of those you take a flyer on and see what you get. If it’s little to nothing then you lose little to nothing but if he and the Yankees were able to catch lightning in a bottle… well this bullpen just becomes silly. 

Fantasy Baseball: Who are the St. Louis Cardinals?

The St. Louis Cardinals are one of those teams you have to either love or hate, there probably isn’t much room for middle ground. It seems like no injury, down season or loss in free agency affects this team and it seems like the Cardinals are always right there in the thick of things in the National League. This is done by building a team around depth, versatility and through a trusted and strong farm system. This is something the New York Yankees have just recently tried to do inside their own organization and this is something that you can use to your advantage while playing Fantasy Baseball if you use your head and a little bit of patience. 

Since it’s Prospects Month here on the blog we won’t be talking about the new arrival of Mike Leake or the return of Adam Wainwright. We will instead focus on their young core of players and/or their prospects that could make a big splash around June or July when the next wave of the future usually comes around. 

Matt Carpenter is a huge fantasy player that still a lot of people don’t know about for whatever reason. Carpenter found a power stroke he hasn’t seen before in his career during the 2015 campaign and should regress a bit. That doesn’t mean he will hit less than 20 home runs this season which could be a great addition to your squad. Same can be said for Kolten Wong and his potential 20 home run and 20 stolen base potential next season. 

Speaking of home runs the Cardinals young outfielder Randal Grichuk can give you 30 home run power in St. Louis with enough at bats next season. The problem is he’s likely to hit around .250 - .260 doing it so he shouldn’t be relied upon there. If you need the home runs and RBI though Grichuk should be an interesting later round pick up. 

Finally we have a long shot but still someone you should keep your eye on for that second half push, Alex Reyes. Reyes will serve a 50 game suspension next season and begin his season in Double-A but he is one of the best, if not the best, minor league pitcher in the minor leagues right now and could be up throwing heat later in the year. Keep an eye out for him as the long summer begins to take its toll on some pitchers as he could be the reinforcements your team needs late for that final push to the postseason. 

There you have it, the young guys and prospects from the St. Louis Cardinals organization that can help you win your fantasy league. If this helps you out then give it a share and help someone else out too, I would just advise against sharing it with people within your own league. Just a thought J

TGP Prospects Month Top 29 Prospects List - #21 Miguel Andujar

Miguel Andujar is finally starting to make a name for himself inside the Yankees farm system at age 20. Andujar, a third baseman and designated hitter according to Baseball Reference, finally reached Tampa with the Tampa Yankees last season and di not look overwhelmed by the jump up from Charleston. Andujar looks like he may be the Yankees third baseman of the future, especially if he can cut down on his strikeout numbers, and for those reasons and more are why I have Andujar as my 21st best prospect in the Yankees impressive farm system this season.

Andujar is just now growing into his 6'0" and 175 lb. frame and could add more power to his game the closer he gets to the major leagues. Andujar has shown double digit home run power as a teenager which could grow into 20+ home run power as he eases into his 20's and beyond. His defense is suspect at this point as he makes a ton of errors every season but his feet seem solid and quick and his arm is strong. He will get away with a lot with that throwing arm and may become a guy that gets everything he can get to rather than trying to do too much, and that's okay.

Andujar has enough speed to hit double digit doubles every season and steal some bases. He's not a leadoff hitter though as he projects to be a middle of the order type hitter at his ceiling, something every team is looking for. Andujar has an awful long way to go but if he gets there and reaches his potential the rest of the league needs to watch out. Andujar could be something special but he's still got at least two seasons to go.

21. Miguel Andujar
22. Jonathan Holder
23. Tyler Wade
24. Nick Rumbelow
25.Jordan Montgomery
26.Trey Amburgey
27. Ben Gamel
28. Austin DeCarr
29. Thairo Estrada
30. James Pazos

Meet a Prospect: Luis Cessa

Luis Cessa knows a thing or two about minor league baseball and New York and it’s a good thing since he was just recently traded to the New York Yankees in the Justin Wilson deal. This marks the second time that Cessa was traded this calendar year as he was also traded to the Detroit Tigers by the team who drafted him, the New York Mets, in the Yoenis Cespedes deal. Now Cessa, along with teammate Chad Green, head to New York to give the Yankees some Triple-A starting pitching depth, let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Luis Cessa Edition.

Cessa is 21-years old and has a natural right-handed pitcher’s build. Cessa stands 6’3” and weighs 190 lbs. with plenty of room to grow and fill out his frame. Cessa was considered an underrated prospect while pitching in the same rotation as Steven Matz and Gabriel Ynoa but is still considered to have less upside than a frontline starter. Cessa is the type of pitcher to aggressively attack the zone and relies on his excellent pinpoint control to survive. Cessa keeps batters off balance with his developing curveball and is still considered raw since he was converted from the infield. The Mets drafted Cessa as an infielder in 2008 and converted him to a starting pitcher in 2011 so the 2016 season looks to be just his sixth professional season as a pitcher. That equals upside.

Cessa’s downfall may be his durability and the fact that he loses velocity the deeper he goes into games. Cessa doesn’t have electric stuff by any means but he gets the job done and could be an excellent relief pitcher eventually. Cessa is truly raw and the sky is the limit.

I was scouting around on a Mets Minors and found these grades from before the 2015 season:

Fastball: 45/55 Change-Up: 55/60 Curveball: 35/50 Control: 55/60 Mechanics: 60/60

Cessa is not going to change an organization by any means but at age 21 you never know. Justin Wilson was replaceable either inside the organization or via free agency so it’s not the biggest loss. At worst Cessa could become a serviceable relief pitcher, at best a decent starter.

Former Yankees Prospects Turned Top Surgeon

February is Prospects Month here on The Greedy Pinstripes and rather than tell you all about the current crop of Yankees farmhands we see down in the system I wanted to focus on something a little different today. I wanted to talk about a former Yankees draft pick and now one of the better surgeons in the United States, a man by the name of Christopher Luke Wilcox.

Christopher Wilcox was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 22nd round of the 1992 MLB First Year Players Draft and while playing in front of his home crowd in Detroit would have been nice Wilcox decided to head to college and turn down the Tigers off. Detroit wanted Wilcox out of St. John’s High School but Wilcox decided to take his talents to Western Michigan University where he played three seasons in the outfield for the team’s baseball team, the Broncos. It was in June of 1995 that Wilcox heard his name called again in the MLB Draft but this time it was in the third round of the draft and this time it was by the New York Yankees. This time Wilcox was not walking away from his dream of professional baseball and signed with New York.

Wilcox toiled around in the Yankees farm system until the 1997 expansion draft when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays took him and kept him in their system until the Yankees came calling once again. Wilcox had two tenures with the Yankees and was called up to the show once, never getting an at bat and never once getting into a game at all, before deciding to retire from the spot in 2001 to return to WMU. Wilcox returned to school hoping to finish his degree and become an orthopedic surgeon and that Dr. Wilcox did in 2007.

Wilcox went on to work with Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida as he learned sports medicine from one of the best in the business and from one of the biggest names in orthopedic sports medicine and surgery. There Wilcox learned the Tommy John procedure from Andrews and he perfected the operation under his watchful eye. With the help of MSU and Dr. James Andrews Wilcox has gone from playing inside Yankee Stadium to helping others reach that goal and that’s truly an awesome thing and experience for the doctor. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/9: Alex Rodriguez Apologizes

On this day in 2009, two days after the story broke on SI.com, Alex Rodriguez admitted to and then apologized for using steroids when he was a Texas Rangers shortstop from 2001 to 2003. A Rod conducted the interview on ESPN and told us that he was hoping to live up to his mega contract that he got with the Rangers for 10 years and $252 million.

Also on this sad day in 2007 Bernie Williams shared with reporters that he planned to decline the Yankees invitation to Spring Training on a minor league contract. Williams mentioned that he had been working out but has not ruled out retirement.

Also on this day in 2001, after 13 months of negotiations, Derek Jeter and the Yankees finalized a 10 year deal worth $189 million. Jeter would become the highest paid player in the game behind only Alex Rodriguez who was making $252 million over 10 seasons.

Finally on this day in 1980 the late Yankees catcher Thurman Munson is inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Kent State University. Munson was a college outfielder at Kent and was taught to play catcher by Hal Schoonover, a coach of the Ken Golden Flashes baseball team.