Sunday, February 14, 2016

TGP Prospects Night Open Thread featuring Gary Sanchez

One of my favorite Yankees prospects heading into the 2016 season is New York's backup catcher Gary Sanchez. Sanchez came through in a big way in 2015 hitting well at every stop he made including Double-A Trenton, Triple-A Scranton and the Arizona Fall League. This video showcases Sanchez at the Arizona Fall League where he played for the Surprise Saguaros. The Saguaros went far and did well this season but fell short of the championship with Sanchez falling short of the MVP Award. That's okay though, he's currently penciled in as the team's backup catcher in 2016. 

Riverdogs Take on Pelicans in Highway 17 Showdown Exhibition

RiverDogs Take on Pelicans in Exhibition in First Installment of Highway 17 Showdown
Charleston and Myrtle Beach Go Head-to-Head in Coastal Clash to Open 2016 Season

CHARLESTON, SC – From the knick knack beach shops and putt-putt golf paradise of Myrtle Beach to the gorgeous historic downtown and food haven of Charleston, the South Carolina coast offers locals and travelers alike two distinct Palmetto State experiences. Home to two of the more successful operations in Minor League Baseball, the cities will fight for the title of America’s premier destination city in the only way they know how -- on the ball field -- as the RiverDogs open their season with the first installment of the Highway 17 Showdown.

Announced jointly by RiverDogs President and General Manager Dave Echols, along with Andy Milovich, his counterpart with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the two teams will play an exhibition game on Wednesday, April 6, at 7:05 pm at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The second installment of the coastal clash is set for the 2017 opener at Myrtle Beach’s Field.

“We’re thrilled to announce this addition to our 2016 home schedule and finally have the chance to settle the dispute on which city really is the premier vacation stop,” said Echols. “It’s only natural that we start in the Number One destination city in America.”

“We’re incredibly excited to partner with the RiverDogs on a series that will showcase two of the finest Minor League Baseball franchises, each with storied Major League affiliates, playing in two of America’s premier family vacation destinations,” said Milovich.

Charleston and Myrtle Beach, home to some of America’s very best beaches, are separated by just 95 miles on US Highway 17. Charleston was named the Number One tourist destination in America for the fifth straight year by the Conde Nast Traveler in 2014 and named the best small city in America when the award was split into two categories in 2015. Myrtle Beach’s accolades include “Best Beaches for Families” and “Best Place to Retire.”

While attracting tourism in their own ways, the two cities have also served as the home for some of the most successful organizations in minor league baseball.

The Pelicans, the Advanced-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, are coming off a 2015 Carolinas League championship and receiving the Bob Freitas Award for the best overall operation in Minor League Baseball (at the Advanced-A level), while the RiverDogs begin their 12th year as a New York Yankees affiliate coming off a record attendance year when 292,661 passed through the gates at The Joe.

Opening Night for the RiverDogs, with all the fanfare fans have come to expect, is still set for April 7 as the Columbia Fireflies come to Riley Park for the first time. The RiverDogs and Fireflies play a four-game set (April 7-10) while the Asheville Tourists conclude the opening seven-game homestand with a three-game block that runs from April 11-13.

The RiverDogs will be managed by Luis Dorante for the third consecutive year. He will be assisted by former big leaguer and Mt. Pleasant resident Greg Colbrunn as hitting coach, Justin Pope as the pitching coach, Travis Chapman as the defensive coach and Michel Hernandez as the catching coach. The Pelicans will be led by former Double-A Tennessee skipper Buddy Bailey, who is the seventh manager in team history. He will be joined by pitching coach Anderson Tavarez, hitting coach and former New York Yankee Mariano Duncan and assistant coach Juan Cabreja.

RiverDogs Director of Fun and lifelong Cubs fan Bill Murray could not be reached for comment.

Tickets for the exhibition are included for all RiverDogs season ticket holders and single game tickets will go on sale on Monday February 1. Lower level tickets (box seats and lower reserved) will go for $10 each while all upper section tickets (upper reserved and general admission) will go on sale for $5. A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition will benefit the MUSC Children’s Hospital.

Ticket information for this game and all of the RiverDogs 70 home games in 2016 may be secured by contacting the box office at 843/577-DOGS (3647) or online at

Fantasy Baseball: So You Need a First Baseman?

So you want to build a snow… wait, wrong blog. Sorry about that. So you want to build a strong fantasy baseball team this year but you’re not quite sure who to choose as your first baseman? Don’t fret and keep reading as I try to rank and educate on the first baseman across the league much like we ranked the catchers around the league earlier this month. First baseman are usually a lot easier to find than catchers are but the right first baseman can give your offense and team the lift it needs when facing tough competition in a close week. 

Obviously at the top you have the Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt but if you’re not lucky enough to have one of the top two or three picks (FYI he should never fall to three) then you may want to consider, in this order, Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox. Rizzo is something special and may be playing with one of the best offensive teams in the league giving him plenty of RBI and runs scored opportunities while the same can be said for Encarnacion. Encarnacion was fantastic last season and may only be the third best hitter on his team, let that sink in. Meanwhile I like Abreu better than Cabrera if I am building an All-Star team but Cabrera has the better offense and more protection around him while Abreu will get his fair share of intentional walks in 2016. For those reasons these are my Top 5 first baseman in the league.

To take that list one step further I would have to with Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles sixth, especially since he’s hitting in Camden Yard again, Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals seventh, Joey Votto of the Reds eight, Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers ninth and Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants 10th. I like Votto, I like him a lot actually, but he has nothing around him in Cincinnati and will likely receive a lot of the same treatment Jose Abreu will receive in Chicago. I also wanted to put Freddie Freeman on this list somewhere in the Top 10 but could not justify it for the same reasons leaving me to add Belt, Hosmer and A-Gon. 

If you miss out on any of these Top 10 or 11 first baseman there are still true options out there but the risk factors start to show their ugly heads. Players like Albert Pujols, Carlos Santana and Lucas Duda always have injury concerns following them around while Mark Trumbo of Baltimore and Byung-Ho Park of Minnesota come attached to huge question marks and unknowns. And then, for the Yankees fans reading, there is Mark Teixeira. Who knows what to expect out of Teixeira? Will he need a DL stint or three? Will he push for 40 home runs again or will he miss more games than he hits home runs? I have no idea so unless you just need a first baseman and need to take a chance it may be wise to stay away from Teixeira unfortunately.

And there you have it, your first baseball rankings from across the league. If you are unsure of what first baseman to take in your draft then keep this bookmarked as a point of reference. I hope it helps, enjoy!

TGP Top 29 Prospects List - #16 Abi Avelino

We're nearing the halfway point of this countdown and we're nearing the meat and potatoes of the New York Yankees farm system. The studs, the future stars and the good players that will fill a role and quietly have a great MLB career. As you near the Top 10 the players stop being so interchangeable and start being more discussion worthy although today we're only at #16. That doesn't mean that Abi Avelino's spot on the list and status within the organization is up for discussion but it does mean he is quite the Yankees talent at shortstop.

Avelino is yet another middle infielder New York has down on the farm. Avelino broke though as a shortstop but has played second base as well as the second base position looks to be locked down for quite some time by Didi Gregorius. Despite entering his fifth professional season with the Yankees Avelino will be just 21-years old for the entire 2016 season. Avelino spent much of his last season with the High-A Tampa Yankees meaning that he could begin knocking on the door with the Trenton Thunder on Opening Day 2016.

Avelino is a high contact guy, high batting average guy, high on-base percentage guy, stolen base threat, strong defender and basically everything else you would want out of a middle infielder coming up through your system. Avelino ranks ahead of Tyler Wade in my opinion and also sits ahead of Hoy-Jun Park while sitting behind Jorge Mateo for the top spot in the system. Avelino is not a name many casual fans know but his game, his ceiling and what he brings to the team and organization is anything but casual.

16. Abi Avelino
17. Hoy-Jun Park
18. Luis Torrens
19. Cale Coshow
20. Chance Adams
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

Yankees Payroll: A Little Perspective

A lot of Yankees fans complain that the team doesn't spend money anymore, which is something that dumbfounds me.

Not long ago Yankees-haters would say things like "the Yankees buy championships", which is stupid enough if it wasn't for the fact that perhaps the best baseball team of all time... the 1998 New York Yankees... did not have the highest payroll in Major League Baseball (that honor went to the Baltimore Orioles, who finished in 4th place in the American League East). The team with the highest payroll in MLB in 2014, the Los Angeles Dodgers, lost in the National League Divisional Series. The Dodgers had the highest payroll in the league last season too, and it got them another loss in the NL Divisional Series.

But besides the fact that the idea of "buying championships" is as stupid as it gets, this idea that the Yankees don't spend money anymore is almost just as silly.

So the Yankees passed on David Price, Jason Heyward, Zack Greinke, Justin Upton, and every other player that signed a Major League contract this season. That doesn't change the fact that the team will still spend nearly $230 million on payroll, second only to the Dodgers (~$250 million), and well ahead of the 3rd place Detroit Tigers (~$200 million).

A number of people believe the Yankees will go hard after Bryce Harper when he's a free agent in a couple of years, and he will likely receive the largest contract in the history of sports.

Look... the Yankees spend plenty of money on their players, and will likely do so until the end of time. And I think I came up with a way to help some people understand just how much money we're talking about.

The following is a list of things that could be bought with the amount of money the Yankees spend on player payroll.

This is Lionel Richie's house. Pretty nice, huh? Well what if I told you that instead of spending all that money on payroll, you could buy this house for each player on the 40-man roster, and have enough leftover to get a house like this for Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi, Hal Steinbrenner, Hank Steinbrenner, Randy Levine and of course one for me.

You could buy the Hennessey Venom GT, the fastest car in the World, for every citizen of Herrings, NY... a village located about an hour and a half north of Syracuse.

Yankee Stadium isn't known for its cheap concession stand prices, Well, did you know that you could buy a steak sandwich, pretzel, and a Miller Lite (in a souvenir cup) for every person that went to a game at Yankee Stadium last year... TWICE!

How about instead of paying the Yankees team payroll, you instead got season tickets in the Field MVP level for you and 14,000 of your closest friends?

NOTE: There may not be enough Field MVP level seats in Yankee Stadium, so some of your friends may have to settle for Field Level tickets. Sorry.

The Diamond Vision screen at Yankee Stadium measures 103 feet wide by 58 feet tall, and has the capability of showing up to four different images at once... all in high definition thanks to over 8 million embedded LED lights. Suffice to say, it's a little bigger than the television you watch Yankee games on every season. But what if I told you that, for the price of the team's payroll, you can have one of these bad boys in every room in your house. Assuming you're house has 33 rooms.

Okay, look... I understand Yankees fans being upset that the team didn't spend more this winter to get better. I also understand the incredible amount of savings the team could receive if they were to get under the Luxury Tax threshold for just one season (that number is not just a few million, but nearly $50 million).

But you absolutely, positively, can not tell me that the Yankees are cheap. If you insist on saying it anyway, then why don't you say it to these guys...?

The Milwaukee Brewers currently have the lowest payroll in Major League Baseball,

Meet a Prospect: James Kaprielian

With their first pick in the 2015 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft the New York Yankees selected RHP James Kaprielian out of UCLA with the 16th overall pick. Kaprielian is said to be the most polished college pitcher in all of the draft and will likely, if healthy and effective, be the quickest moving pitcher in this year’s draft with a possible ETA as soon as late in the 2016 season. Obviously this is all contingent on if he signs but college pitching usually doesn’t have that sign-ability risk with them so it almost seems like a done deal to many fans. Even after Kaprielian signs his contract he is not officially a member of the Yankees family until we say he is, and we say he is with a Meet a Prospect post on the blog, the James Kaprielian Edition.

James Douglas Kaprielian was born on March 2, 1994 in Laguna Hills, California to parents Douglas and Barbara Kaprielian and has one sibling, a sister Alison Kaprielian. Kaprielian is a right handed pitcher that stands 6’4” and weighs in at 200 lbs. fitting the Yankees profile of big framed Southern California pitching to come over to the team. Kaprielian spent his high school years at Beckham High School before attending UCLA for the past three seasons. Kaprielian is a four pitch pitcher who uses an 88-92 MPH fastball to offset his changeup, curveball and slider and keeps batters off balance. His changeup is considered to be his best pitch and his out pitch which has drawn some comparisons to another Yankee draft pick Ian Kennedy. Kennedy flew through the Yankees system after being drafted in 2005 and was in the major leagues by 2006 and Kaprielian may follow a similar path if healthy and effective.

In three seasons with UCLA Kaprielian posted a 17-10 record as a starter and a relief pitcher with a 2.06 ERA. Kaprielian started 31 games for the Bruins while coming out of the bullpen for the other 35 contests. Kaprielian came into the draft riding a hot streak of sorts posting a 2.02 ERA and a 10-4 record in his last 16 starts of his junior season striking out 114 batters in just 106.2 innings pitched. Kaprielian finished sixth all-time in Bruins history in strikeouts with 275 while leading the Pac-12 in wins (10) and K’s (114) in his 2015 season finishing strong before the draft. Kaprielian has thrown the full nine innings three separate times in his career including when he threw nine no-hit innings to combine with teammate David Berg for a ten inning no-hitter, the first in school history.

Kaprielian was not the sexy name coming out of the draft like Ashe Russell or the household name like Dansby Swanson or Brady Aiken but he did nothing to disappoint in his first professional season. Kaprielian saw a uptick in velocity as he dominated the lower levels of the Yankees minor league system. Kaprielian is considered MLB ready now and could be with the big league club as soon as August or September of 2016, 2017 for sure. The future is bright in New York and it starts with James Kaprielian in the starting pitching department. 

Happy Valentines Day from The Greedy Pinstripes

But more importantly, Happy Walking Dead Day! No really, Happy Valentines Day everybody from everyone here at The Greedy Pinstripes. Whether you have a significant other or not this is still the day for love. Love of your family, your financial situation or the love of the Yankees. No need to be down about it, love it and embrace it. Have a great day everyone and if you have that special lady in your life, spoil them. It's worth it.

This Day in New York Yankees History 2/14: Yankees Sign Andruw Jones

On this day in 2011 the New York Yankees signed the "Curacao Kid" Andruw Jones to a one year deal essentially closing the door on Johnny Damon's career in pinstripes. Jones signed for one year and $1.5 million and ended up stinking up the joint for two seasons.

Also on this day in 2009 the Yankees lost free agent Bobby Abreu to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim after they signed him to a one year deal worth $5 million. Abreu was in his age 34 season and came off a very solid .296 average with 20 home runs and 100 RBI's for the Yankees the previous season.

Happy Valentines Day everybody!