Blog Archives

Yankees First-Half Awards: Results

Will Brett Gardner take home BOTH the Defensive MVP and Offensive MVP award? Read to find out!

Will Brett Gardner take home BOTH the Defensive MVP and Offensive MVP award? Read to find out!

Welcome back Yankees fans! Now, on July 6th, I posted a poll about the Yankees First-Half awards. The poll had now closed and now it’s time to give the results.

DISCLAIMER: I was not allowed/couldn’t vote for anyone in any category in anyway. All of these votes are from you guys.  Now that we are perfectly clear, let’s start with the Pitching Category, shall we?

Who Is the Yankees Starting Pitcher MVP?

For this category, I listed the pitchers that have had either great or s0-so years. (Ivan Nova wasn’t added because he wasn’t in the rotation the entire half and Phil Hughes was plain terrible when I made the poll). So, here were your nominees for the Starting Pitcher MVP.

1) CC Sabathia

2) Hiroki Kuroda

3) Andy Pettitte

4) David Phelps

The Winner Is:

Hiroki Kuroda!

Hiroki Kuroda had a whopping 92% of the vote among Yankees fans. Andy Pettitte was second in the voting at 3% and CC Sabathia and David Phelps were tied with 2%. So pretty much Kuroda had this category in the bag.

Who is the Yankees Bullpen MVP?

Our next category takes us to the bullpen, where we have some of our top relievers that have outperformed above and beyond. (Shawn Kelley, Preston Claiborne and Adam Warren were not listed in this category because there was a specific category for them. We all know why Joba Chamberlain wasn’t nominated in any category, so that’s that.) Here were your nominees for Yankees Bullpen MVP.

1) Mariano Rivera

2) David Robertson

3) Boone Logan

The Winner Is:

Mariano Rivera!

Mariano Rivera had 85% of the vote, so it wasn’t shocking who won. It was shocking who came second. Boone Logan had 11% of the vote and David Robertson came in third with 4% of the vote. I would have figured more people would have voted for D-Rob. Interesting.

Who is the Yankees Bullpen Standout?

Here is the category where I listed some pitchers that weren’t in the other category. (Again, Joba is not in this category). These are some first time Yankees that have opened everyone’s eyes with what they could do. Here are your nominees for Yankees Bullpen Standout.

1) Shawn Kelley

2) Preston Claiborne

3) Adam Warren

The Winner Is:

Preston Claiborne!

Preston Claiborne had 63% of the vote among Yankees fans while Shawn Kelley had 34% of the vote. Adam Warren finished last in this category with 2%. I was surprised with Warren getting the least amount since he has helped out the bullpen so much as well

Now we move on to the Defense Category. 

Who Is The Yankees Defensive MVP?

This category involved multiple players that have opened our eyes with their defense. Luis Cruz wasn’t added to this category because he came after I already made the poll, but we could give him a pat on the back for the great defense he provided. Here are your nominees for Yankees Defensive MVP:

1) Robinson Cano

2) Brett Gardner

3) Ichiro Suzuki

4) Jayson Nix

5) Vernon Wells

The Winner Is:

Brett Gardner!

Brett Gardner quickly ran away (pun not intended) with this category with 69% of the vote. Robinson Cano came in second with 17% of the vote while Ichiro Suzuki came in third with 11% of the vote. Jayson Nix had 2% of the vote while Vernon Wells had 1%.

Onto the biggest award: The Yankees Offensive MVP

This is the final category of the awards. It also was the tightest race out of all the categories. I pulled up the Yankees best three offensive players throughout the first half and the winner…may shock you. Here are your nominees:

1) Robinson Cano

2) Brett Gardner

3) Ichiro Suzuki

The Winner Is:

Robinson Cano AND Brett Gardner!

I know what you’re thinking, how could BOTH of them win the Offensive Award? It was simple. The race was SO tight that by the time voting closed–they were tied. Both Gardner and Cano had 47% of the vote. Ichiro unfortunately was left in the dust with 7% of the vote.

And those are your winners for the Yankees First-Half Awards! Join me again in September after the regular season when we have 2013 Yankees Awards (awards that are for the entire year, instead of the first half).

About these ads

Yankees First Half Awards Poll

Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner are MVP's for the Yankees, but who will take home  the Offensive and Defensive MVP?

Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner are MVP’s for the Yankees, but who will take home the Offensive and Defensive MVP?

With the All-Star break approaching us, it’s time to reward the Yankees on the team for their hard work that they’ve done for half of the year. It’s been a tough 3 months, but with a loss of many players, the Yankees are still in the hunt for a play-off spot (yes, I know it’s hard to fathom). So, with the first half of the season closing in, it’s time to have a poll on some deserving players who have went above and beyond in trying to help the Yankees. So here are the categories:

Yankees Offensive MVP:

The Yankees have been through a lot through the last 3 months of the season, some good, some bad, some terrible and some horrendous. However, for the Yankees there have been a few bright spots on the team. I had to find at least three players to be nominated for this award and with this lineup–it was very easy to make my decision. So thank you to the rest of the lineup for constantly struggling. Anyway, here are your nominees for Yankees Offensive MVP:

Yankees Starting Pitching MVP:

There haven’t been a lot of bright spots for the Yankees Starting pitching, but so once again it was pretty easy to find at least three (or four) nominees for this subject. So here are your nominees for Yankees Starting Pitching MVP:

Yankees Bullpen MVP:

The Yankees bullpen MVP was the hardest part to choose Yankees nominees (thanks for being so good guys). These nominees went above and beyond to protect the leads for the most part, and even shut down the opposing team’s offense. Here are your nominees for Yankees Bullpen MVP:

Yankees Bullpen Standout:

Now, there are Yankees MVP, and then there are players that have joined the Yankees in the pen for the first time in 2013 and have shut down the offense. So this category is for those players. Here are your nominees for Yankees Bullpen Standout:

Yankees Defensive MVP:

Now, there are some good catches…and then there are catches that leave the offense wanting to throw their helmets down on the floor in anger. Here are your nominees for the Yankees Defensive MVP for the first half of 2013:

Here are the polls, Yankees fans! You have until July 14th to get your votes in and I’ll have the winners posted up during the All-Star Break! You can vote as many times as you want for a player, so good luck and may the best player win.

Finally, a Yankees team we can love

Let’s be honest. When the “Yankees” lined up down the first base line on Opening Day, was this a team you were ready to watch for 162 games? Probably not.

Sure, there was Robinson Cano. You may have spotted Brett Gardner and Ichiro as well. But besides them, did anyone else catch your eye? Kevin Youkilis in pinstripes was “something else”, but what I mean is, did you feel comfortable relying on Lyle Overbay at first, or Vernon Wells in left? I don’t think so.

Where was Nick Swisher, the heart and soul of the team the past four seasons? What about Russell Martin, our Munson-esque backstop? How could we possibly win with these replacement-level, over the hill scrubs?

These questions and more swirled through many fans’ heads as the Yankees opened up the season back in April. Numerous analysts were picking them to finish last, and if they weren’t that harsh, they still predicted them to miss the playoffs.

Now of course it’s still early in the season, but who could have thought just how different the first month and a half would play out on the field, than we thought it would in our minds.

Here are our 2013 Yankees, at 22-13, first place in the A.L. East. A familiar sight without a doubt, but how they’ve gotten to the top of the division is as unusual as it’s ever been in the Bronx. Absent are the headlining stars – Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson – and present are former big name players revitalizing their careers, and youngsters trying to sink their teeth into the major leagues.

They still hit home runs like the usual Bombers, but win close games more often than not with solid pitching and nearly flawless defense. When was the last time those two aspects were keys to winning for the Yankees? It may have been in the playoffs, but certainly not on the path to get them there.

As mentioned, injuries have paved the way for players young and old to make an impact in pinstripes. Vernon Wells is second to Robbie Cano in runs scored, home runs, and average, Lyle Overbay already has 20 RBI, and Travis Hafner has made a fairly big impact when it matters with his still ferocious bat. Austin Romine, Preston Claiborne, Adam Warren, [and soon David Adams] have all made their big-league debuts and figure to be relied upon more as the days get longer and the season moves into the dog days of summer.

It’s hard to pinpoint the last time the Yankees have had so many role players, rather than superstars, and have been A) successful, and B) fun to watch. Maybe sometime in the 90’s, but they never went anywhere.

Sensing the sarcasm, no, this roster right now is not world championship worthy, and it will be a big help when everyone comes back off the DL. But, when they do, don’t be so willing to part with the Overbays, Hafners, and Wellses of the world.

Because truth be told, they’re the reason why Tex, Grandy, A-Rod and the Captain will jump right back into a pennant race they can win.

Keep it up guys…

Yanks drop second straight game to Sox in 7-4 loss

On Monday, the Yankees offense (besides Cervelli) was absent. Tonight, the Yankees hit two home runs but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Red Sox, as the Yanks dropped their second straight game at Yankee Stadium by the score of 7-4.

Hiroki Kuroda was forced to leave the game in the second inning after a line drive hit him in his middle finger. The results came back as a finger contusion but the Yankees were going to send him to get x-rays just to make sure that’s all it was. Cody Eppley came in afterwards, allowing four runs, who was then relieved by Adam Warren who only gave up one run. Shawn Kelley was the only Yankee pitcher who didn’t give up a run to the Red Sox.

The Yankees had two home runs during tonight’s game, one by Travis Hafner and one by Vernon Wells, both of those accounting for the four runs the Yankees scored; Hafner a solo shot. Wells a three-run shot.

Tomorrow the Yankees will send Andy Pettitte on the mound in order to break the losing streak, as they fear that they’ll be behind 0-3 to start the season.

Update: Hiroki Kuroda’s X-Ray’s came back negative and he’s day-to-day. However, Joe Girardi says it’s too early to tell whether Kuroda will make his next start or not.

Some notes to end the Spring: Hafner, Eppley, Warren, Boesch, Rodriguez, Gardner

Spring Training officially came to a close today after an exciting day with the Yankees playing (and winning) against Army. Here were some final notes from the Spring Training front on who got the last three roster spots for the Yankees.

1. Brennan Boesch made the team as the player on the bench but Boesch is the only player who doesn’t really have a specific role. Girardi could DH him, start him in the outfield, pinch hit him. The possibilities for the Yankees and Boesch are endless.

2. Cody Eppley and Adam Warren both got the final two spots on the roster. The Yankees gave Eppley the benefit of the doubt after a bad Spring, but he looked sharp in his final outing, getting all four hitters he faced.

3. Travis Hafner was scratched from the lineup today due to some stiffness but it’s nothing to worry about. The Yankees simply said Hafner didn’t have enough time to loosen up. He should be fine for Monday’s opener.

4. Alex Rodriguez is expected to be with the team on Monday for the Opening Day festivities.  Yankees however aren’t sure if he’ll address the media or not.

5. An interesting fact that I got from YES today. The only player that had actually faced Army (However, not the current 2013 team) was Brett Gardner. In 2005 he was apart of the NCAA with the College of Charleston and one of their opponents was Army.

6. One final note: the Yankees start the home opener on Monday, but there are only two players that are expected to start Opening Day that played last season: Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano. So we lost 7 of the guys to either the DL or to other teams.

Enjoy your night everyone and I will see you back here Monday morning where I will be blogging (and tweeting) about the home opener with the Yankees against the Red Sox!

Morning Bits: Wise, Warren, Jeter, Gardner

Good morning everyone. Last night’s game was ugly, I admit but it’s time to turn the page and focus on today. Hiroki Kuroda starts for the Yankees and first pitch is at 1:05. Here are your morning links! 

– Last night Dewayne Wise pitched great for the Yankees (no, this isn’t a typo). Adam Warren–ehh–not so much.

– Derek Jeter made history last night by overtaking Cal Ripken Jr. on baseball’s all-time hit list.

– Here’s an article that I wrote for Yahoo! about how Brett Gardner actually changes the dynamics to the Yankees when he’s in and out of the lineup.

Yankees hit 5 HR’s in 11-9 win vs. Astros

The Yankees traveled to visit the Houston Astros one last time in Florida before the season begins on Friday and the game turned into an absolute slug-fest as the Yankees were able to pour out 5 HR’s during the game.

Adam Warren was selected to have the start today, going 5.2 IP giving up 6R on 10H but the story was the Yankees offense. The Yankees hit 5 HR’s and there were 9 HR’s combined in a game that was ultimately shortened in the top of the 9th due to rain. Robinson Cano, Raul Ibanez & Jose Gil each hit one HR while Dante Bichette Jr. (who filled in for Eduardo Nunez) had 2 HR’s, both on the first pitch.

Injury Update: Michael Pineda hit the 15 Day DL with shoulder tendinitis while Cesar Cabral had a stress fracture in his elbow and will most likely go on the DL.

WHAT’S NEXT: Tomorrow the Yankees will take a trip to Miami and have the honor of playing against the Marlins to work out the kinks of the new Marlins Ballpark. The game will be on YES Network at 1:10pm. If you are able to, this is a must not miss game.

Pineda struggles but Yankees top Phillies 13-9

Everyone knew that this start was supposed to be important for Michael Pineda. He needed to convince Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman that he should get a spot in the rotation. He needed to convince the media that his velocity wasn’t an issue. He needed to convince fans that he was capable of pitching in New York. At the end of the day, Michael Pineda only went 2.2 innings and gave up 6 runs on 7 hits.

Pineda left the game after getting hammered during the first 2 innings but the game took an interesting turn when Pineda confessed as to why he didn’t pitch well. Apparently, Pineda had soreness in his right shoulder hours before the game started. The issue? He didn’t tell the coaches or Girardi that he wasn’t feeling his best. Pineda is scheduled to get an MRI tomorrow to make sure that everything is okay.

THE GOOD: The Yankees offense woke up today. Dewayne Wise came in the game in the 7th inning and had 2 HR’s while Derek Jeter had a 2 for 3 night & Curtis Granderson had a homer off Jonathan Papelbon. Although Brett Gardner was 0 for 3 tonight, he did what Girardi wanted; get on base. Not only that, he swiped second and led Derek Jeter in a perfectly executed double steal. Clay Rapada once again looked sharp tonight and has not given up a run all Spring. Can we keep him Joe? I have a feeling he’ll do great in the bullpen.

THE BAD: Michael Pineda & Cesar Cabral both went down with injuries today. Pineda has soreness in his shoulder while Cesar Cabral has pain in his left elbow. He is going to get an MRI tomorrow morning as well, just to make sure everything is okay.

WHAT’S NEXT: Some of the Yankees will make one last trip to visit the Houston Astros. The game will not be on television but the game will be on Houston Radio so of course, expect coverage. Adam Warren is slated to start the game.

WHAT’S UP AHEAD: Joe Girardi hinted that Phil Hughes might have a spot in the Yankees rotation. Hughes was scheduled to pitch in the minor leagues which would line him up for the 4th spot in the rotation. When asked if he was in the rotation, Girardi let out a smile and said, “figure it out.” I’m taking that as a yes Joe. Nick Swisher is also slated to be in the Yankees lineup on Sunday when the team goes to Miami to play the Marlins in their new ballpark. Let’s imagine this as the New York Yankees version of Spring Break.

Morning Bits: Rotation, Pettitte, Joba, Valentine, Warren

Good morning everyone.  It’s Friday and I couldn’t be any happier (well besides my march madness bracket being blown up from last night’s games).  Enjoy the weekend all. Let’s get right to the links…

* The New York Post reports that the Yankees are still uncertain who will fill the last three spots in the rotation.

* The Daily News mentions that Pettitte is on the fast track to return.  He also throws a bullpen today.

* Bradley from the Star Ledger writes about how the bullpen will get better once Joba returns.

* From the let’s look to start a feud department: Bobby Valentine said the Yankees were not courteous for walking off the field in a tie in last night’s game.

* From Mlb.com: Unheralded Warren held his own against the Red Sox.

Warren shuts down Red Sox but Sox climb back to tie Yankees game at 4

David Phelps was scheduled to make the start for the Yankees tonight, but Mother Nature had other plans. Phelp’s wife was giving birth which prompted Phelps to back out of his start. Adam Warren was squeezed in to make the emergency start and Warren did not disappoint whatsoever as he was able to shut down the Red Sox in his 4 innings of work.

The last time the Yankees and Red Sox met up with one another, the Red Sox defeated the Yankees 1-0. This time, the ending was completely different. The Yankees & Red Sox ended up in a tie after Joe Girardi called it off after 9 innings. For comedic relief, Bobby Valentine wanted to keep going and tire out the Yankees. Oh Bobby…it’s Spring Training. Let it go.

Warren only allowed 2 hits and no runs in his 4 innings of work while looking effectively sharp against the Red Sox everyday hitters. Dellin Betances pitched 3 innings without giving up any runs, but his Achilles heel tonight was walk. Betances gave up 4 walks in 3 innings. Cory Wade struggled in the 8th inning. ending the shutout by allowing 3 runs to the Red Sox. Juan Cedeno came in after Wade was only able to go 0.2 of an inning, getting the final batter in the 8th. George Kontos came in during the 9th but allowed the tying run for the Red Sox to score which resulted in the Yankees tie.

THE GOOD: Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner & Andruw Jones all had a hit in tonight’s game (Granderson a RBI triple, Gardner a hard clean single & Jones had a single). CC Sabathia started today vs. Double-A in an attempt to hide his pitches from the Red Sox. Sabathia allowed 1 run on 5 hits, gave up a walk and had 4 strikeouts. Girardi didn’t see Sabathia’s outing and joined Gardner & Granderson in Ft. Meyers but he jokingly said that this Sabathia kid has a shot of making the rotation. You know what Joe? I’ll go a step further. I say this Sabathia kid will be an ace.

THE BAD: Raul Ibanez went hit-less again, his average in the Spring being a dismal .054. Is it too late to try to persuade Jorge Posada to come out of retirement? Cory Wade also did not look sharp, allowing 3 runs in the Red Sox 8th inning and not being able to finish the inning. There were also some base blunders today as both Eric Chavez & Andruw Jones were picked off by Red Sox starter Aaron Cook. Guys, leave the stolen base attempts to Gardner & Granderson, okay?

WHAT’S NEXT: Tomorrow is a Split Squad game which means 2 games at once. Here is also some exciting news. Mason Williams will play in Tampa vs. the Twins while Yankees first round 2011 prospect Dante Bichette Jr. will head to Clearwater and join the other half of the Yankees for the game vs. the Phillies. The game vs. the Twins will broadcast on YES & MLB.TV while the game @ the Phillies will be only on MLB.TV.

Pineda & Wang duel as Yankees win 8-5 over Nationals

Sure Michael Pineda gave up 2 runs. What pitcher doesn’t give up 2 runs and makes mistakes. Besides of the 2 runs, Michael Pineda looked sharp as the Yankees defeated the Nationals 8-5 in the first game of a 2 game set. The Yankees were facing their former teammate Chien-Ming Wang who looked sharp until a Russell Martin collison at 1st forced him to leave the game with a left hamstring injury.

Pineda’s line was pretty good. He went 3.2 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 base hits while striking out 4. Clay Rapada is making his case to be the second lefty in the bullpen by going 1.1 innings and giving up only 2 walks. Juan Cedeno went 0.2 innings while giving up 1 run on 1, Brett Marshall went 2.2 innings giving up 2 runs on 2 base hits while striking out 3. Michael O’Connor pitched 0.2 innings giving up 1 hit and Adam Warren ended the Nationals threat by getting out the only batter he faced.

The Good: Bill Hall made his case for a spot on the 25 man roster today, having 2 base hits and driving in 2 runs.Russell Martin also had a base hit for the Yankees. He came out of the Chien-Ming Wang collision unscathed so that was also good news.

The Bad: Brett Gardner had a very tough game, striking out all three times he was at the plate. I know this is Spring Training, but his performance is beginning to worry me (along with Robinson Cano‘s who didn’t play today.)

WHAT’S NEXT: The Nationals will travel down to Tampa and face the Yankees on their turf this time. CC Sabathia is slated to start for the Yankees.

Spanning the Yankee Blogs: Soriano, Prospects, Postseason, Pineda

Good afternoon all.  Here is our weekly article where we span the blogs and bring you the very best articles on the Yankees. Give them all a read.  Enjoy!

* An A-blog for A-Rod has thoughts on what they don’t like about the new postseason format.

* Bleeding Yankee Blue ponders if Soriano is next in line after Mariano retires.

* Bronx Baseball Daily profiles prospect Brandon Laird.

* It’s about the Money Stupid is projecting the Yankee starting rotation.

* Lady Loves Pinstripes is doing a series of previewing each team.  Up now are the Cardinals.

* New York Baseball Digest is impressed with Phelps.

* NYY Universe is previewing the AL East.

* Pinstripe Alley has some love for Robinson Cano.

* River Ave Blues looks into regression risks for the 2012 season.

* Sliding into Home is ranking some of the Yankee prospects.

* The Captain’s Blog asks if Pineda is a lock for the rotation.

* The Greedy Pinstripes profiles prospect Adam Warren.

* The Yankee Analysts are against early extension, generally.

* Yanks Go Yard is predicting a big year for A-Rod.

Spring Training Notes: 2/27/12

Andy Pettite is at Yankees Camp!

No, you’re eyes are not decieving you. Andy Pettite is at Yankees Spring Training Camp. Unfortunately he’s not going to put on #46 and pitch for the Yankees. Instead he’s a guest instructor here to carve the young minds of our Yankee Farm system.

You may notice that the Spring Training report is earlier than usual. Well, here’s the reason why:

Matthew B. is hosting a Yankees Chat tonight at 7pm answering all things Yankees! Come with questions please!

Now that we got that announcement out of the way, here are some Spring Training notes for today!

– Nick Swisher went to see a Sports Psychologist (didn’t know there was such a thing). Let’s see if it works for him!

– A.J Burnett’s greatest contribution to the Yankees will live on. No, we’re not talking about him pitching. We’re talking about the walk-off pie! Who should do it? Nick Swisher!

– The Yankees released their rotation for the starting week of Spring Training. The rotation will go as follows:

3/2 vs. USF: Adam Warren
3/3 vs. Phillies: Ivan Nova (MLB Network, MLB.TV Game)
3/4 vs. Phillies: Freddy Garcia (YES Network Game)
3/5 vs. Phillies: Michael Pineda (MLB Network, MLB.TV Game)
3/6 vs. Pirates: CC Sabathia & Phil Hughes
3/7 vs. Rays: Hiroki Kuroda (YES Network Game)

–  Robinson Cano has left camp in Tampa Florida to catch a flight to the Dominican Republic after receiving word that his grandmother passed away yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Robbie.

– Courtesy of Bryan Hoch here are some pictures from today & yesterday’s Spring Training session!

An interview with Seedlings 2 Stars

Our friends over at Seedlings 2 Stars were kind enough to answer a couple questions about the 2012 Prospect list they put out.  The questions were sent out before the trade but I think the answers are still interesting to hear.

For a bio on both the writers who answered these questions click the below links.

Q1: Tell us what you feel about the projections of Jesus Montero. You ranked him pretty low, in my opinion, on your 2012 Prospect list at #42.  I feel that will be the lowest ranking we will see of him all year from any source.

Nathaniel: Montero is likely to be a very good major league DH. The reason he’s ranked 42nd on the list is because he’s not going to provide any value aside from his bat, so he’s going to have to be one of the top dozen or so hitters in the game if he’s going to attain true stardom. He’s not going to grow much more, and his statistics got worse as he advanced through the minors, so it would seem to be awfully difficult to be confident that he’s going to be a top-15/20 hitter. That said, he’s still just 22 and has a very good track record. He should be a very good hitter. The thing is, there’s a significant chance his offensive production is closer to Billy Butler‘s than Miguel Cabrera‘s.

Q2: A prospect that won’t make many lists is Jorge Vazquez. While he can mash the ball, he tends to strike out quite a bit and doesn’t seem to take many walks. I feel he could be a MLB player (like a Shelly Duncan) but he is blocked by Mark Teixeira at 1B and DH by Montero. Could you see a team wanting him in a trade? Or is he a career minor leaguer?

Wally: Jorge Vazquez is 29-years old and has a dreadful career SO-to-BB of 710-to-173. In 2011 with Triple-A he drew just 30 BB to 166 SO in 118 games. If you’re a fan of percentages his K% was a whopping 33.2 and that’s just not major league material, especially coupled with a 6.0 BB%. The other thing that limits his value on the market is that there are no shortage of younger 1B/DH type guys with better plate discipline and a better track record scattered around the minor leagues. Off the top of my head we have; Clint Robinson (26) – Royals, Bryan LaHair (29) – Cubs, Kila Ka’aihue (27) – Athletics, Brandon Allen (25) – Athletics, Chris Davis (25) – Baltimore. Then you have guys that may be a little older but have a better profile like Luis Terrero (31) – Mexican League. Vazquez may get a look as a bench bat at some point but he’s awfully long in the tooth and with his issues on the plate discipline front, the presence of Teixeira really doesn’t impact his chances of getting major league at bats. The Yankees could be starting Travis Ishikawa at 1B and Vazquez would still be blocked. Bottom line, he has little trade value and is most likely a career minor leaguer who may get a cup of coffee at some point.

Q3: You have Gary Sanchez #17 ranked ahead of Manny Banuelos #26. The majority of Yankees projections will have Banuelos ahead of Sanchez. Can you explain to our readers why you have your rankings this way and how you see Sanchez and Banuelos as MLB players?

Nathaniel: Sanchez has more upside than Banuelos does, and, being a position player, he also has less of a chance of suffering a career-altering injury. His track record, at least on offense, has also been excellent thus far, whereas Banuelos hit some serious speed bumps in the upper minors with his command. I absolutely love Banuelos–he was top-10 on my list last year–but he’s not physically projectable, so his stuff probably “is what it is,” so to speak. Therefore, it could be a couple of years before he refines things enough to get his walk rate back down, and he’s almost certainly not an ace in the end–more of a #2/#3 starter. Sanchez, on the other hand, could be the best catcher in the American League if he can figure out the defensive side of the game. Of course, the same could be said for Montero, but while there’s skepticism surrounding Sanchez’s defensive capabilities, I don’t think it’s quite at the level of the disregard for Montero’s catching.

Q4: What are your thoughts of Dante Bichette Jr.? Some Yankee fans were scratching their heads when he was selected so high in the draft. That being said, in his first season in rookie ball he hit .342 with 3 HRs and 47 RBIs. Do you see him cracking your prospect list in the future?

Wally: I believe in the value of having major league bloodlines and selecting a player of his profile 51st overall was far from head scratching to me. In fact I was surprised he didn’t go earlier. That said, I was surprised by how quickly he transitioned his game to affiliated ball. He was one of a select few players to hit better than 0.300/.400/.500 in 2011 and he did so at 18 years old. I don’t think there is any question that if he puts forth another strong season in 2012 he will land in the 51-100 range of the vast majority of Top-100 lists. He’s got the bat, the projectable power, a strong throwing arm, decent speed and a strong work ethic. In short he’s an outstanding prospect that just needs to show what he did in rookie ball will translate to A-ball and beyond.

Q5: You have Betances ranked at #88 for your 2012 Prospect Rankings.  Some see him as just a back of rotation guy – where do you see him fitting in with the Yankees?

Nathaniel: Tough to say. Betances has very good stuff, so there’s always the chance that he figures out his mechanics, gets the ball down and in the zone more, and takes off. At this point, though, he looks more like an eternal frustration a la A.J. Burnett. He could be a Burnett-type starter with his fastball/curve mix, but probably fits better as a power reliever. If he doesn’t get things together in 2012, he won’t be on the list again.

Q6:  Can you give us a top prospect who could make an impact next year for each team in the AL East that Yankee fans should be aware of?

Wally: For Baltimore there just aren’t a lot of options close to the majors that are likely to have an impact. In fact there’s really just one and that is 2B-turned-outfielder L.J. Hoes. He doesn’t have any standout tool but he is coming off of hitting 0.305/.379/.413 for Bowie (AA) in 2011 with his typically strong SO-to-BB rates. While he lacks the pop you’d like to see in a corner OF, his bat is legit and he should hit for average in the majors. He will likely get on-base at an above average rate and bring good speed to the table.

Like the Orioles much of Boston’s top tier talent is further down in the system but there is one player in particular that will most likely make an impact for the Sox in 2012. C Ryan Lavarnway made his major league debut in 2011 after hitting 32 HR between AA and AAA. Once in the majors he didn’t shrink from the spotlight and handled himself well hitting 0.231/.302/.436. He should push for playing time in Spring Training and have a chance to become a “Napoli-esque player” (to borrow a phrase from Nathaniel’s lexicon).

Tampa Bay has the top-pitching prospect in all of baseball and there is no player I am looking forward to watching more in 2012 than LHP Matt Moore. Everyone knows about him by now but he’s going to make a loaded Rays rotation even better. I may be over the top but I consider Moore a serious threat to win the AL Cy Young Award this year.

Toronto has the best farm system in the division and Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia have already made their presence felt in the majors. There is more impact talent on the way. C Travis d’Arnaud and OF Anthony Gose will likely both start in Triple-A and be just a step away from making an impact on the major league roster. Gose will likely take a little more time to round out his game but d’Arnaud could advance quickly and make Arencibia a tradeable commodity in short order.

Q7: Based on the recent trades of Gio Gonzalez and Mat Latos, could the Yankees have come up with a prospect package to match what Washington & Cinncinati gave up WITHOUT including Montero and Banuelos?

Wally: Well to recap. For Washington it took RHP A.J. Cole, C Derek Norris, LHP Tom Milone and RHP Brad Peacock to get Gio and Robert Gilliam from the Athletics. Cincinnati needed to give up C Yasmani Grandal, 1B Yonder Alonso, RHP Brad Boxberger and RHP Edinson Volquez to pry Mat Latos away from the Padres. Those are 2 serious prospect hauls that the Nationals and Reds surrendered respectively and it’s hard to imagine that the Yankees could have gotten a deal done without including one, if not both, of Montero and Banuelos. If they had packaged Banuelos with Gary Sanchez and probably two other guys a bit further away I think they could have pulled it off for either starting pitcher. Likewise a package fronted by Jesus and Betances and some other guys further away may have worked but Montero’s value to the Padres was significantly less due to the uncertainty surrounding his ability to play catcher.

To put it more bluntly, no. I don’t think they could not have pulled off either deal without giving up either Montero or Banuelos.

Q8: Would a package of Betances, one of Romine or Sanchez, one of Warren or Phelps and another C-level prospect be enough for the Cubs to trade Matt Garza?

Wally: Ah, see now were getting to a more realistic target as Matt Garza isn’t on the same level as Mat Latos or Gio Gonzalez. He’s several years older and closer to free agency which makes him a less valuable trade commodity. If the Yankees were to step up with a Betances, Sanchez package and maybe another C+ prospect I have to believe the Cubs would jump at the chance. If they opted to try and move Romine instead of Sanchez than I think Phelps, Betances and another piece would have to be involved.

Q9: I love Tyler Austin as a sleeper prospect. I think he possesses the same skill set of Dante Bichette but doesn’t get near the publicity. Have you seen him play? What do you think of him? And is there a sleeper or two you like in the Yankee organization that might not get a lot of press?

Nathaniel: I’ve seen a bit of video of Austin. I agree that he’s definitely worthy of being talked about along with Bichette and Williams–they form a formidable trio of short-season guys you don’t find in many organizations. I think Nik Turley and David Phelps are two good sleepers. I see both as capable fourth starters in the big leagues.

Q10: With most of their top pitching prospects in the upper levels (AA and above), what young pitchers in the Yankee system do you like to step forward in the coming years to replace Banuelos, Betances, Noesi, Nova, Phelps, Warren, etc…

Wally: Of the guys pitching below AA the two I think have the best chance to step forward are RHP Brett Marshall (21) and LHP Nik Turley (22). Both have now reached High-A and both could develop into mid-rotation guys. Outside of those two there’s not a whole lot else to dream on right now in the lower levels.

Q11: I expect to see Mason Williams crack a lot of Top 100 lists this yr. BA rated him the top prospect in the NY Penn Lg and he’s got all kind of tools in his shed. Was he considered for your top 100 and what is your overall opinion on him?

Nathaniel: Yes, Williams was considered for the top 100. He was around the 110s on my list, and that’s no insult. I was very hesitant with a lot of short-season guys on the list this year, sort of as a reaction to going too crazy with them on the list the year before. I do think he was the top prospect in that league, he has a very good skillset, and he’s certainly a prospect to watch. He, Austin, and Bichette will all rise up my rankings next year if they continue to hit in A-ball.

Yankees Top 40 Prospects for 2012

Could Mason Williams be #1 on this list next year?

Based on their recent actions and remarks, it seems the Yankees are serious about sticking to a smaller payroll now and at least through the 2014 season in an attempt to get under the $189 Million Luxury Tax threshold.  In order to do so, the club will need to look  to fill important positions from within and develop both impact and role players.

The Yankees system became known in recent years as being deep in Pitchers and Catchers but lacking in strong position prospects.  This was definitely a weakness identified by Mark Newman & Damon Oppenheimer and they addressed it by adding several solid up the middle athletes and corner players who can rake in the last 2 years.  Now, the system is more well-rounded although there is definitely a lack of upper-echelon hitters in the higher levels of the organization.

The system is still strong in upper level pitching. Even with Nova & Noesi graduating to NY, they still have 5 potential MLB starters in AAA (Banuelos, Betances, Warren, Phelps, DJ Mitchell).  The next level of pitching is led by Brett Marshall and several guys that need to take a step forward in 2012.  Oppenheimer has a history of drafting good college relievers and there are many strong-armed righties in the pipeline who could advance quickly.

Today, I will list the Top 40 with a quick blurb, then will follow-up with more in-depth on the Top 20 or so players in the coming weeks.  Each player has their position, Opening Day 2012 Age & expected level to start season.

1) Jesus Montero - C/DH, 22 – MLB

Has an elite bat that will make him a middle of the order MLB hitter for the next decade+. Rare blend of natural power to all fields with ability to make adjustments and take what pitcher gives him.   Only question is whether he will be anything more than a DH but a .300 hitter with 30 HR power will always find a spot even if he’s eventually a full-time DH.

2) Manny Banuelos- LHSP, 21 – AAA

Manny Banuelos

Had control issues in AA/AAA but most believe it’s just a matter of trying to be too fine as he has solid mechanics and repeats his delivery well.  Threw a career-high 130 innings so will be in line for 150-160 this year and could be ready to pitch for NY in 2nd half.

3) Gary Sanchez - C, 19 – HiA

Has big-time raw power and still growing into his 6’2″ frame.  His defense has been poor but I think he has the athleticism to convert to corner OF or 1B down the line and his bat is definitely strong enough to support such a switch.

4) Dellin Betances - RHSP, 24 - AAA

This is a big year for Betances. At 24, he needs to have a good year in AAA to prove he can pitch in a MLB rotation. Has plus, swing-and-miss stuff but most improve his control to cut down his pitch counts.

5) Mason Williams – CF, 20 – LoA

Dynamic player with plus-plus MLB speed and defense already. He put on a show in rookie ball and if he shows his offensive skills are for real this year in full-season ball, he may vault to #1 on this list next year.

6)  Dante Bichette, Jr. - 3B, 19 – LoA

Drafted for his plus power, he’s shown better defense than was thought. He’s really impressed the organization with his intangibles & makeup - namely his work ethic, advanced approach, knowledge of the game & leadership. Baseball America named him top prospect in Gulf Coast League and VP of baseball operations Mark Newman calls him “a special player and person.”

7) Austin Romine- C, 23 – AAA

His defense behind the plate is MLB-ready now.  His bat isn’t special but will be good enough for him to have a long career as a starting catcher in the bigs.

Phelps is a winner.

8) David Phelps - RHSP, 25 – AAA

Phelps is a winner who knows how to pitch. He’s 38-15 with a 2.61 ERA in his 4 years in the organization. He’s maintained the same solid numbers at every level including a 7.4 K/9 & 2.0 BB/9. Reminds me a little of Ian Kennedy. Missed time with shoulder issue but came back strong in August and was solid in AFL also.

9) Ravel Santana – OF, 19 – LoA

Tremendous physical skill set with power & speed. BA rated the wiry 6’2″ 160 pounder  right behind Bichette as best in the Gulf Coast League after he put up a .425 wOBA. Will have to overcome the broken ankle & torn ligaments he suffered last season so will likely start in extended ST this year.

10) Tyler Austin- 3B, 20 – LoA

Tyler Austin can hit for average and power.

I seem to be in the minority but I  really like this guy. He made his debut in the Gulf Coast and smashed to a .517 wOBA in 20 games, then followed up with .448 wOBA  in Staten Island. Has power to all fields and an advanced approach that helps him drive off-speed pitches. How many 20-year olds can you say that about? BA ranked him 8th best prospect in NY Penn League. Only question mark is his defense at 3B but he’s athletic enough to play the OF if need be. He even stole 18 of 18 bases in just 47 games which tells me he has good instincts and a feel for the game.

11) J.R. Murphy - C/3B, 20 – HiA

Improved his game offensively & defensively before ending season early with leg injury. Rips line drives to all fields and scouts now believe he has the ability to remain as a catcher while also showing the athleticism to play 3B and OF. Could become a very versatile asset in the Majors.

12) Slade Heathcott - CF, 21 – HiA

He’s Gardner-like in the OF right now and has more offensive potential. However, I’m a little concerned with his constant injuries and questionable makeup. To have his speed and get thrown out stealing 17 times in 38 attempts is baffling. But, if he matures and stays healthy, he could be special.

13) Brett Marshall- RHSP, 22 – AA

Brett Marshall

Now fully recovered from his 2009 Tommy John Surgery, he threw career high 140 IP with 3.24 FIP. Has good low 90s sinker and makings of a plus slider. Has flashed mid 90s velocity at times and will be interesting how he does in AA this year.

14) Adam Warren- RHSP,  24 – AAA

Warren is next in a succession of Yankee right handers, behind Nova and Noesi, ready to advance to the majors. He threw 152 IP in AAA with a 3.60 ERA and on a lesser team without depth, he’d have a great chance to make the rotation.

15) Corban Joseph - 2B, 23 – AAA

Has patient approach and nice lefty stroke that generates hard line drives but there are concerns about his defense at 2B and 3B. He had .346 wOBA in Trenton with 38 doubles and 8 triples but doesn’t get the lift and backspin to hit HRs.

16) Zoilo Almonte – OF, 22 – AA

Solid all-around skills. Good defense, speed and power that has improved the last 2 years. Yanks added the switch-hitter to their 40-man to protect him from Rule 5 draft and he could be a candidate to make the team in 2013.

17) Graham Stoneburner - RHSP, 24 – AA

Season was marred by a neck injury that kept him out 2 months and he was never quite effective as excellent debut in 2010. But he still has a great sinking fastball that gets tons of grounders.

18) David Adams - 2B, 24 – AA

The ankle injury he suffered in 2010 lingered all season and the Yankees were very careful with Adams. He played sparingly in only 29 games.  If he’s finally healthy this season he could progress quickly as he has an excellent bat that rips line drives to all fields.

19) Angelo Gumbs- 2B, 19 – LoA

Great up the middle athlete shows lightning quick bat speed and raw power to go with strong arm and nice speed. BA rated him 14th best prospect in NY Penn League where he had .341 wOBA, 4 triples & 11 SB in 220 PAs.

Nik Turley has that Andy Pettitte look down pat.

20) Nik Turley - LHSP. 22 – HiA

6’7″ lefty reminds me a litle of Andy Pettitte.  Took a step forward with 2.51 ERA and 8.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 82 IP in Charleston til a broken hand ended his season after being promoted to Tampa.

21) DJ Mitchell - RHSP, 24 – AAA

Similar to David Phelps, Mitchell is someone who just keeps pitching well and winning. Sinker/slider pitcher with solid change-up could be another back end starter/long-relief candidate.

22) Mark Montgomery - RHRP, 21 – HiA

Overwhelmed hitters with low-mid 90s Fastball and an unhittable slider leading to a 16.4 K/9 and 1.91 ERA as closer in Charleston.  His slider is just unfair to young hitters and he needs to be tested against more advanced hitters to see how quick he can advance.

23) Brandon Laird - 3B, 24 – AAA

Strong defensive 3B with good power but he doesn’t take many walks or hit for much average.  Has also played some 1B & LF so could be a backup candidate in NY.

24) Cito Culver- SS, 19 – LoA

Showed strong arm with smoothness in the field and compact swing from both sides of the plate. BA rated him 6th best prospect in NYPenn League where he hit .250/.323/.337.  He’s a project that will take time to develop his offensive game.

25) Ramon Flores - OF, 20 – HiA

Sweet lefty stroke and patient approach at plate, had .350 wOBA in Charleston. Good OF with strong arm and solid all-around tools. Only 5’10″ 160 so should get stronger and develop some pop.

26) George Kontos - RHRP, 26 – MLB

Standard FB/Slider reliever, held RH hitters to a .182 BAA in AAA.  Averages about a strikeout per inning but is a fly-ball pitcher who is prone to HRs.

27) Claudio Custodio - 2B, 21 – LoA

Talented 2B/SS with very good speed.  Hit ball well in GCL and  showed willingness to take a walk.  Hit .325 with .433 OBP and 26 SB in 28 attempts.

28) Tommy Kahnle - RHRP, 22 – HiA

Power reliever had 2.45 FIP in 81 IP with 12.4 K/9 but also 5.4 BB/9. Sits around 93-95 and can dial it up to 96-97 with a developing slider.  Needs to improve his command and secondary pitches.

29) Isias Tejada – C, 20 – LoA

Next in line of promising Yankee catcher prospects, Tejada showed his ability to make good, hard contact with a .971 OPS in the GCL with only a 12% strike out rate.

30) Brandon Pinder - RHRP, 23 – LoA

Dominated mostly younger hitters as closer in Staten Island with 11.0 K/9, 1.4 BB/9 and 1.16 ERA.  Has great command of 94-95 mph Fastball but has no quality secondary pitch yet.

31) Bryan MitchellRHSP, 20 – LoA

Plus stuff but still very raw. Put things together by end of year and shows strikeout (8.6 K/9) and ground-ball stuff (2.19 GO/AO rate)

32) Jose Rosario- SS/2B, 20 – LoA

Hit just as well as teammate Bichette with .331 average and .529 SLG%.  He’s a hacker with a 3.2% Walk rate but he’s caught the attention of the organization and earned a late season promotion to Charleston. Mark Newman stated, “He can run (11 SB in 43 games) and throw. He hit 6 HRs, so he has some ability to impact the ball.  By diligence, he’s turning himself into a quality prospect.”

33) Taylor Morton - RHSP, 20 – LoA

Made impressive debut in GCL. The 6’3″ righty should get stronger and he already possesses a plus change, low 90′s FB and good command.

34) Rob Segedin - 3B, 23 – HiA

Big 3B/OF with strong hitting skills. Earned promotion with .395wOBA at Charleston but struggled some in Tampa. Yanks put him in AFL this Fall where he went .250/.367/.407.

35) Daniel Lopez – CF, 20 – LoA

Another emerging all-around athlete with good speed. Showed power potential this year hitting .327/.413/.490 with 27 SB in 61 games across 3 levels.

36) Jose Ramirez - RHSP, 22 – HiA

Promising arm took a step back this year but still notched strong K rates so stuff is still there.

37) Evan Rutckyj- LHSP, 20 – LoA

Big strong 6’5″ lefty got stronger as the season progressed and generates a lot of ground-balls.

38) Cesar Cabral - LHRP, 23 – MLB

Rule 5 pick from Red Sox system, he’ll have chance to make team in ST as second lefty in pen. Gets a lot of Ks with good Fastball and plus Changeup.

39) Pat Venditte SWRP, 26 – AAA

Doesn’t have dominating stuff but continues to post good overall numbers and solid K rates at every level.  Biggest drawback is he’s a heavy flyball pitcher.

40) Abe Almonte – OF, 22 – AA

Plus defender and baserunner but wildly inconsistent at the plate. Switch-hitter had huge 2nd half, riding a 30-game hitting streak and showing off good extra base hit power.  Needs to prove 2nd half surge was real at AA this year.

Other NotablesWalter Ibarra, Kyle Roller, Zach Nuding, Dan Burawa, Chase Whitley, Ronnie Mustlier, Yeicock Calderon, Robert Lyerly, Melky Mesa, Dan Brewer, Brad Suttle, Jorge Vazquez, Ben Gamel, Gabe  Encinas, Matt Tracy, Zach Wilson, Evan DeLuca, Mikey O’Brien

New Additions to Watch in 2012: Greg Bird, Jake Cave, Matt Duran, Jordan Cote, Justin James, Dan Camarena, Hayden Sharp, Rookie Davis, Miquel Andujar

Several Interesting Rumors: Cain, Garcia, Wilson, Haren

Yesterday, Mike Silva’s New York Baseball Digest dished out some pretty interesting rumors regarding the Yankees. I’ll recap them in this post. Now, I’m really not sure about the overall reliability of these rumors. However if they are true, then they are very interesting. I did look through the comments at River Ave. Blues, and Steve S. of The Yankee Analysts was adamant that the author, Frank Russo, has always had a rock solid source, “very tied in to baseball matters with the Yanks.” Keeping that in mind, here we go…

— Russo wrote that the Yankees made an offer of four players for Matt Cain of the Giants, that included at least 1 position player and several minor-league pitchers. The deal was quickly turned down. Some of the names that were reportedly tossed around were: Jesus Montero, Nick Swisher, Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, David Phelps, and Hector Noesi.

— He says that in Tampa, the word on the street is that Freddy Garcia will not be the only starting pitching acquisition, and that it wasn’t really a “value signing”. Russo says that Garcia could be utilized both as a starter or a long reliever. “They also love his clubhouse presence as he was a mentor to Ivan Nova.”

— Russo states that although there have been no numbers tossed around, the Yankees “could” offer CJ Wilson one of two types: (1) a 5 year contract with an opt-out option, (2) a 4 year contract with several vesting option years. They reportedly feel their main competition for Wilson is the Angels’ aggressive GM, Jerry DiPoto.

— He mentions that rumors are starting up that the Angels may make Dan Haren available. Russo says the Yankees would really like to acquire him, but “the belief down in Tampa is that DiPoto will only trade Haren to the Yankees for several ‘top tier’ prospects, (think Montero/Romine and Betances/Warren).”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,319 other followers