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Spring Training Notes 2/15/13: Youkilis, Chamberlain, Pineda

When your a famous ball player (or a famous anything) one of the main rules of stardom is not to search yourself on the internet to prevent what people are saying about you. It could be spiteful, it could be hurtful, it could be someone taking something you said completely out of context and publishing it as if you’re a bad person. Option number three happened to Kevin Youkilis, the brand new Yankees third baseman. Youkilis yesterday made a comment about how he will always be a “Red Sock.” The next thing he knew, he was being written about in every gigantic publication from the New York Daily News to ESPN. After reading the ESPN article last night, Youkilis cleared the air for reporters as he discussed what he actually meant by his comment.

“The whole thing for me, I look at it, when I was saying it, it was more like a baseball card.” Youkilis said. “When you look at it, there’s going to be nine seasons or whatever (with the Red Sox) and that’s why I said it. But in context of what I said, if you read it as ‘I’m always a Red Sock,’ it looks bad. But it’s not that way. I’m a Yankee today, and I’m excited. I’m proud to be a Yankee, and I’m proud for Opening Day and playing against the team that I spent all those seasons with. Trust me, if you know my personality and know who I am, it doesn’t matter what team’s along the way. I want to beat everyone. I want to beat the Red Sox because I want to start out with a win at Yankee Stadium.”

Not only did Kevin Youkilis address the media about his comments but he also made nice with Joba Chamberlain, and it looks like the two became buddies. Their first conversation of the spring? They talked about mustaches. Chamberlain is growing out a mustache and wants Youkilis to do the same. Today the two new teammates gave each other a handshake.

“Tomorrow we’ll hug.” Youkilis said.

Michael Pineda had a side session earlier this morning and threw 25 pitches (all of them fastballs). He said he felt good and he’s still on track to return in June.

– Do you guys remember this pitcher named Cesar Cabral, who was a Rule 5 draft pick, slated to take a bullpen spot last season, only to hurt his elbow forcing the spot to go to Clay Rapada instead? Well he threw a 25 fastball side as well, and could be scheduled to return in May.

– The Yankees writers have all been following the Washington Nationals camp, waiting to see how Rafael Soriano is doing adjusting to his new team. The problem is…he never showed up to camp, prompting another edition of “Where In The World Is Rafael Soriano.” The answer? The Dominican Republic having a visa issue. Nationals say that he should be in camp over the weekend, which would give everyone a chance to continue to keep an eye on him.

– And some somber news for another former Yankee. Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher left the teams workouts to attend his mothers funeral in Ohio. Condolences go out to Nick Swisher and his family.

– And finally, do you plan on watching a Spring Training game this season but don’t know what channel its on? Yesterday, I made the 2013 Spring Training schedule for the Yankees, including the channels for which game will be broadcast. If you have (or are planning to get) MLB.TV 2013, then you’re in luck since you’ll get to see most of the games this Spring. Here’s the complete list of games, times and channels.

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Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees make qualifying offers, Yankees keep Cabral

Good evening Yankees fans. Today is one of those days where we ask ourselves–”Is it February yet?” Anyway, onto tonight’s notes that circle around Yankees baseball!

– The Yankees announced today that they have made qualifying offers to Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano. The bigger question here is–why didn’t the Yankees make an offer to Ichiro Suzuki or Russell Martin? Do they plan on letting them go? We’ll find out more as the “Off-Season Saga” continues. (BTW, the Yankees would get a draft compensation pick if either of the three sign elsewhere).

– Speaking of Russell Martin, the Yankees did not make him a qualifying offer. Martin can still sign with the Yankees but they won’t get compensation for him if he goes to another team.

– The Yankees also announced that they plan on keeping Rule 5 pitcher Cesar Cabral for the offseason. They want him to come back to Spring Training and compete for the job in the bullpen. Last season, Clay Rapada beat out Cabral for the job (mostly because Cabral fractured the tip of his elbow) but this season Cabral would have to make the team or he gets sent back. A loophole however is if Cabral makes the team, he doesn’t have to spend the whole year on the team. He can be optioned to the minor leagues at any point during the season.

– And finally, Michael Pineda–might miss the entire 2013 season. There’s no information as of yet but tune into MLB Tonight on MLBNetwork to find out why. (And for those who hate the Red Sox, David Ortiz might be out the entire season as well). MLB Tonight airs at 6pm. Check your cable provider for which channel.

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.

Gardner has multi-hit game as Yankees fall to Blue Jays 4-3

With Opening Day rapidly approaching, CC Sabathia was slated to have one last long stretch start before his next outing was a quick one. Sabathia gave up 3 run in 6 innings pitched vs. Kyle Drabek & the Blue Jays in a 4-3 loss in Tampa.

In Spring Training, Sabathia takes the time to build pitch count and go longer in games so of course giving up 3 runs means nothing for the ace who has a locked spot in the rotation. David Robertson came in the game and after giving up a lead-off walk, he got the next 3 hitters; striking out one of them. Cesar Cabral easily got the first two batters but had issues getting the third out when Justin Maxwell‘s error & Chris Dickerson‘s blunder allowed the insurance run to score. Clay Rapada came in the 9th inning and had another scoreless inning.

Brett Gardner had his first multi-hit game of the Spring, going 2 for 3 with 1 RBI and a stolen base. Gardner was the only Yankees regular with 2 hits and was also the only Yankees regular who had an RBI. Gardner was also able to raise his average from .185 to .220 which probably means that Gardner is warming up for the 2012 season.

The big story of the game however was Curtis Granderson as he was scratched from the lineup with soreness in his elbow. Girardi said that Granderson will get a precautionary MRI  since Cashman says it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Andy Pettitte threw a live batting practice to Nick Swisher today and Swisher said that the way Andy was throwing, it felt as if he never left. That’s a good sign for Andy Pettitte. Also some good news for Nick Swisher is that he will spend 2 days at the Minor League complex just to get some at-bats in. If his right groin feels better by Friday then he will be in the lineup.

ROSTER NOTE: Yankees IF Jorge Vazquez won’t get that part-time DH role if he was looking for it. Yankees just re-assigned him to minor league camp shortly after the game.

WHAT’S NEXT: Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano & Russell Martin will make the trip to Orlando to play against the Atlanta Braves. The game tomorrow is a televised game on ESPN so if you are in front of the television, make sure to watch. First pitch is at 1:05pm.

Spanning the Yankee Blogs: Hughes, Pineda, Hayden Sharp, Joba, Cabral

Good afternoon all.  I spanned the Yankee Blogs and report back with an article from each.  Enjoy them.

* An A-blog for A-Rod has a great article about Phil Hughes and the perils of pitching well during a surplus.

* Bleeding Yankee Blue asks who your favorite Yankee pitcher of all time is.

* Bomber Boulevard recaps the roller coaster of the past week.

* Bronx Baseball Daily has the video of Bernie Williams playing with the Allman Brothers Band that I tweeted about last week.

* It’s about the Money Stupid mentions that Michael Pineda is not Phil Hughes.

* Lady Loves Pinstripes has the preview of the 2012 Twins.

* New York Baseball Digest writes why taking Cabral on the roster makes the most sense.

* Pinstripe Alley asks who are your favorite 2012 Yankee prospects.

* River Ave Blues has the 2012 season preview of the closer.

* Road to Yankee Stadium is looking under the radar at Branden Pinder.

* Sliding into Home asks you to not underestimate the value of a relief prospect.

* The Captain’s Blog wonders if Joba can bounce back from the latest injury.

* The Greedy Pinstripes has a twitterview with Yankee prospect Hayden Sharp

* The Yankee Analysts ponders Michael Pineda starting the year in AAA.

* Yanks Go Yard has an article about the the irreplaceable David Robertson.

* Zell’s Pinstriped Blog wonders if the Ibanez deal was a mistake.

Garcia shuts down Tigers as Yankees beat Tigers 4-2 in 10 innings

In game 1 of this 2 game set, the Yankees traveled to visit the Detroit Tigers in a 2011 ALDS rematch. Freddy Garcia & Max Scherzer turned the game into a pitchers duel with the Yankees & Tigers getting to the 7th inning in an hour and 35 minutes since the first pitch until the game got interesting.

Freddy Garcia made it through 4.1 IP with 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 BB & 4 K’s,Kevin Whelan took over for Garcia and pitched a perfect inning, Boone Logan went through 0.2 IP with 1 K , D.J Mitchell went 3 innings giving up 2 runs on 3 hits with 3 BB & 1 K. Cesar Cabral came in the 10th and pitched a perfect inning to get the save.

Raul Ibanez who did not have a good Spring, had a 2 run homer in the 7th inning off Max Scherzer who had a no hitter going until Colin Curtis broke it with a single. Mark Teixeira singled before the homer. The Tigers were able to tie the game in the 9th but the Yankees rallied and won the game on a RBI double by Dewayne Wise that scored Justin Maxwell & Bill Hall.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Yankees will play Game 2 vs. the Tigers but this time at Steinbrenner Field. Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez, Russell Martin & Curtis Granderson are slated to be in the lineup. Michael Pineda will get the start.

Hughes looks sharp as Yankees beat Rays 5-2

Phil Hughes did what he had to do. He went 5 innings, he made it to his pitch count, his velocity was good and he had command of his pitches in a Yankees 5-2 victory over the Rays.

Hughes’s only mistake was a hanging breaking ball for Matt Joyce which resulted in a 2 run homer. Other than that, Hughes was sharp and has proven that he is a contender for one of the spots in the rotation. Clay Rapada went an inning without giving up a run on 2 K’s, Cesar Cabral (1-0) had an impressive afternoon with 2 innings and 6 K’s & Mike O’Connor had 1 strikeout in one inning pitched without giving up a run.

THE GOOD: Justin Maxwell continues to hit the ball hard, going 1 for 2 with an RBI, Mark Teixeira was on base 2 out of 3 times & Robinson Cano was 1 for 3, Alex Rodriguez was 1 for 2 with a walk & Cole Garner was 1 for 3 with 2 runs scored.

THE BAD: There wasn’t really anything bad about today. Yankees just had a bit of trouble scoring late.

WHAT’S NEXT: Brett Gardner & Curtis Granderson are slated to make the trip to Ft. Meyers to face the Boston Red Sox in a Spring Training rematch. The game will be on ESPN & also on YES Network (choose YES Network if you can). David Phelps will get the start while CC Sabathia pitches in a minor league game.

Kuroda has good outing but Yanks fall 4-3 to Astros

Hiroki Kuroda wanted to capitalize from his last outing in which he did, pitching 3 scoreless innings in a Yankees 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros. Kuroda did have command issues in the first and third innings of the ball game; in the first the Astros hit the ball hard against him, but luckily was able to get the double play. In the 3rd, Kuroda allowed the bases to be loaded but got out of it on a strike out. But in the end, Kuroda pitched 3 innings without giving up any runs.

Rafael Soriano had a shaky outing, giving up 1 run and not being able to finish the inning, Juan Cedeno gave up a hit but didn’t give up any runs, Cesar Cabral gave up a run on 3 hits, Dellin Betances had a good two innings, giving up no runs on 1 hit and Michael O’Connor gave up 2 runs and was charged with the loss.

Out of the Yankees regulars only Robinson Cano & Nick Swisher had hits in the game. Cano hit a single and Nick Swisher hit an RBI triple. The Yankees are now 5-6 during the Spring.

WHAT’S NEXT: Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira & Alex Rodriguez are slated to be in the lineup tomorrow vs. Bobby Valentine & the Red Sox.

Yanks defeat Phillies 8-5 in Spring Training Opener

Fresh from their predictable win against the University of South Florida, the starting outfield, Raul Ibanez & Russell Martin made the trip to Clearwater where they were going to get a taste of Major League action from Cole Hamels & the Philadelphia Phillies.

After Raul Ibanez’s bloop double that scored Curtis Granderson in the top of the 1st, Hunter Pence of the Phillies quickly made the score 2-1 with a towering HR to right field (thanks to the wind).

Raul Ibanez looks up at his bloop RBI single as Yanks win 8-5 vs. Phillies

Granderson answered back in the third inning with an opposite field HR to left off of Dave Bush which gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead. After scoring 1 run in the 6th, 3 in the 7th (a 2 run shot by Cole Garner) & 2 in the 9th, the Yankees looked set and stone to secure the win, but the Phillies attempted to bounce back in the ninth all starting with a Juan Pierre single. Although he gave up 3 runs in the inning, Michael O’Connor was able to regroup and got Cesar Hernandez swinging for the final out of the ball game.

One thing that made the Yankees look a little sloppy on the field today was errors. Eduardo Nunez had an E-6, Ivan Nova had an E-1 & Jayson Nix had an E-3, all in the first inning.

Ivan Nova pitched 2 innings giving up 1 earned run, David Phelps pitched 2 innings giving up no runs, Manny Banuelos (1-0, 0.00 ERA) pitched 2 innings, gave up no runs and secured the win, Dellin Betances pitched 1 inning with 2 walks, Cesar Cabral pitched 1 inning giving up no runs and Michael O’Connor pitched 1 innings giving up 3 runs.

WHAT’S NEXT: The starting infield and Andruw Jones will take on the Phillies tomorrow as the Phillies make the trip to George M. Steinbrenner Field. Freddy Garcia is slated to start tomorrow.

(Photos Courtesy of Yahoo! Sports)

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

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