Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Meet a Prospect: Zack Littell

The New York Yankees finalized their 40 man roster over the weekend designating players like Nick Rumbelow and Nathan Eovaldi for assignment, releasing players like Dustin Ackley and trading players like James Pazos to the Seattle Mariners for new prospects for us to meet like right-handed starter Zack Littell. Let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Zack Littell Edition.

Littell is a 21-year old right-handed starting pitcher the Seattle Mariners drafted in the 11th round back in the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft. Littell was drafted out of High School back in 2013 and has progressed to A-Ball as recently as the 2016 season.

Baseball America listed Littell as the owner of the best curveball in the Mariners system at the time of the trade while MLB Pipeline had him ranked as the 14th best prospect in the Seattle farm system. MLB.com had Littell as the Mariners Prospect of the Year after taking a big step in two Class-A Ball affiliates this season.

Littell owns a low-90’s MPH fastball and as previously stated he has a great curveball to go with it. Littell is also developing a changeup that he hopes to keep batters off-balance with. Not a bad pickup at all for a left-handed reliever with little MLB experience and a marginal stat line in a small sample size, huh?

Littell posted a combined 13-6 record with a 2.66 ERA in 28 games, 27 of them starts, in two stops in Class-A Ball in 2016 striking out 156 batters in 165.2 innings. Just another arm that could potentially reach the Major Leagues in a season or three for New York. These are never bad to have, especially for a pitcher like James Pazos who posted pitched well in stretches in 2015 and 2016 but could easily be replaced in the “Circle of Trust.”

Littell will begin his Yankees career down in Low-A Ball with the Tampa Yankees. Welcome to the family.

I Want To See Your Sources Jim Bowden

The Yankees didn't sign a free agent to a Major League contract last offseason, they have cut bait with overpriced veterans and are giving promising rookies a chance to play. They have a bevy of tantalizing prospects knocking on the door and are focusing on getting below the luxury tax (likely for the star-studded 2018 class.)

All this information seems lost on Jim Bowden who recently stated he expects the Yankees to land at least one of Edwin Encarnacion and Yoenis Cespedes if not both. You can check out the exact quote here. The Yankees have supposedly checked in on each of those players, as they should have. The Yankees have money and as long as they do they should check in on top free agents. Checking in on a player does not equate legitimate interest, however. In 2011 when Carl Crawford was a free agent the Yankees had not intentions of signing him but met to psyche Boston into increasing their bid.

The Yankees and Encarnacion connection seems at least somewhat plausible, they have a hole at DH and could use a complement to Greg Bird and Tyler Austin at first base. With Encarnacion being 33 he'd also be looking for a shorter contract than Cespedes so he wouldn't necessarily block younger players. Cespedes, on the other hand, seems like an odd fit. The Yankees have no hole in the outfield at the moment. They are rumored to be interested in dealing Brett Gardner possibly for starting pitching, but the Yankees would be swapping Gardner's two years left on his deal with Cespedes having 5+ years on his new deal. That would be an odd fit considering Ellsbury is going to have to move to left field to make way for Clint Fraizer as soon as the 2017 season. The Yankees could also look to make a bad contract swap and move Ellsbury, but that is a lot of moving pieces.

The free-spending days of the Yankees are in the past and despite what analysts think. I think a reunion with Aroldis Chapman is likely but I don't envision the Yankees investing a large amount of money and years into a hitter. The Yankees prospects are too close and the 2018-2019 free agent class is too tantalizing to throw that away.

Happy 3rd Birthday to My Boy, Hayden

What else can I say that I don’t already say every single day about this kid? This kid is my heart and my pride and joy along with my other son, Evan, and while he wasn’t exactly part of the plan he was the best decision I never made. So today is your day little guy, Happy 3rd birthday from Dad and everyone here at The Greedy Pinstripes. Enjoy your day J

Weekly AFL Check In: Gleyber “MVP” Torres

The Arizona Fall League is over for the prospects of the New York Yankees and the team has their third MVP in the history of the league, Gleyber Torres. Torres becomes the youngest player to ever win the Arizona Fall League MVP Award and joins Greg Bird and Eric Duncan as the other two Yankees prospects to win the award. Congratulations to him and the Yankees family.

Here is what an MVP stat line looks like: 

This Day in New York Yankees History 11/22: Enter Goose Gossage

On this day in 1977 the Yankees signed Rich "Goose" Gossage to a six year deal worth $2.75 million as a free agent. Gossage was coming off of a 26 save and 1.26 ERA season with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Also on this day in 1957 Mickey Mantle edges out Red Sox superstar Ted Williams for the Most Valuable Player award for the American League. Two Chicago writers had Williams ninth and tenth on their respected ballots which slipped Ted to second place even though he had a .388 average with 38 home runs and a .731 slugging percentage.