Showing posts with label Minors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Minors. Show all posts

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Jeremy Bleich Watch

Yesterday I unveiled my idea for a prospect watch and narrowed it down to one of Dellin Bettances, Jeremy Bleich, and Zack McAllister. Ultiamtely I went with Bleich because he seems to be the one who should move through the minors fastest this year. Bleich was a controversial pick last year. A lot of people thought he was a big reach but the Yankees must have seen something in him to make him their second pick. RAB had a good profile on him back in November which is worth a read. After every Bleich start I'll devote a post to how he did and update his season stats. Hopefully he'll have a good year and be a starter for the Yankees in a couple years.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Checking in on Eric Duncan

The story of Eric Duncan is familiar to most fans by now. The Yankees first round pick a few years ago burst onto the scene as the sole bright spot in the Yankees farm system. He had an incredible year in the Arizona Fall League once and seemed like the Yankees future third baseman. However, the native New Yorker's star has fallen far. He's had a few weak, injury filled years. He's also been bounced around the field. After starting out as a third baseman, he moved to first. Then the word was he was trying out the outfield. He didn't even get an invite to Spring Training this year.

He didn't even make most top prospects lists. However, with A-Rod's injury and Teixiera's wrist troubles, their seems to be opening for him. Cody Ransom has been about as bad as you can be as well. Clearly, the Yankees would like a better bat in that spot. Meanwhile, Duncan has been raking in AAA. Granted, its only been 6 games for him but he's hitting .364/.440/.500. Why not try and catch lightning in a bottle for a few weeks with Duncan? If he hits then it would at least boost his trade value. If he doesn't, then they don't lose anything. Its not like Cody Ransom is crushing the ball. Just a wild thought.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Previewing the Minors: Trenton's Rotation

The top two pitchers in Trenton's starting five for the upcoming season are clearly George Kontos, a sinker slider guy who profiles as a back end starter, and Eric Hacker, a 25 year old who has a decent ceiling and good stuff but has struggled with injuries early in his career. The rest of the rotation is more up in the air. My guess is those spots will be filled with organizational type players at first, but Zach McAllister and Christian Garcia will probably see some time in Trenton. Guys like Mike Dunn and Ryan Pope are low-ceiling guys who could see time in Trenton.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Previewing the Minors: Scranton's Offense

The Yankees do not have many position player prospects, so there aren't too many players of note here. The most important is Yankees #1 prospect Austin Jackson. A-Jax is a very good defensive centerfielder, but hasn't posted eye-popping numbers on offense yet. We could see a major step forward this year, as he learns to translate his athletic ability into baseball ability, and as he moves out of the Trenton, which has one of the worst hitters' parks in the country. The other player of note likely to see significant time at AAA this year is Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli missed a lot of last year after breaking his wrist in Spring Training, but is a solid catching prospect. He is a great defender, and walks a good amount, though he ultimately profiles as a good major league backup.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yankee Auction to benefit The Domestic Violence Project

I just got an email from the Trenton Clubhouse manger, Tom. Read it for yourself: 

I have been a clubhouse manager in the minor leagues for 20 years, the last four employed by the Yankees. For many years I worked for the Canton/Akron AA affiliate of the Indians. 
About a week before opening day in 1997, my wife's sister was murdered by her husband
in the most senseless, tragic act of domestic violence. For a long time it was all I could do
to deal with the ramifications of this tragedy, and to do my best to raise my late sister-in-law's son. 

Two years ago Phil Hughes was the most prominent player on my team in Trenton. I've never been much for collecting autographs, but toward the end of that season I figured I could ask Phil to sign a couple of balls for me that I'd auction off for the local domestic violence shelter. Phil was happy to oblidge, but about ten minutes later he came back to me saying, "Tonto, the balls are only going to bring about $50 each, but I've got some other stuff that would  be pretty good."

By game time that night he had loaded up my desk with game used hats, gloves, spikes, photos...all signed. I raised a little over $2600 which at Phil's request we split between the shelter and a local Trenton youth baseball group.

Last year I collected what I could throughout the season and did the auction on Ebay, raising a little over $5000 for the shelter, much of it on some great stuff Joba signed for me.

This year I hope to do better, and am asking you to drop a plug and link for the auction on your site to help me do that. We both know that there are a lot of unscrupulous characters out there, so if you are thinking about helping me with a plug but have a concern, please let me know and I'll be happy to provide a contact with the shelter, and the Trenton Thunder who can verify that this is 100% legit.

100% of the profit from the sale of the items goes to the shelter, and each item comes with a certificate of authenticity from the Yankees AA affiliate Trenton Thunder. 

Here are a few pertinent links. You may note that the team and the shelter have already posted links to the auction on their sites.

the auction page:

Trenton Thunder:

The Domestic Violence Project:

I began listing the items a few days ago and more will pop up in the next few days. The bidding will go through approximately November 20th. Among the many Trenton Thunder related items I have some great signed bats and balls from premier prospects of other teams, along with a few items signed by Duke Snider, Joba, Tino Martinez, Jim Rice, Roy White, Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel, and a beautiful bat signed by Reggie.

Any plug/help would be deeply appreciated. If you have any questions, please e-mail me or give me a call (330-224-3660).


Tom Kackley
Canton, Ohio
Help out a great cause and pickup some Autographed Yankee gear in the process!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hughes dominates

Down in AAA they are actually playing meaningful playoff baseball. Remember that?

Phil Hughes faced off against Boston's AAA team and Bartolo Colon. It went into extra innings tied at 0-0. Eventually the Yankees won with a walk off HR by Shelley Duncan (remember him?). The most impressive part though was Phil Hughes.

He pitched eight shutout innings, gave up four hits, no walks, and struck out 12. Can you really get much better than that? I`m certainy not ready to give up on Hughes yet. He may indeed be a bust but its to soon to say.

The Scranton Yankees will face of in their equivalent of the World Series next against Tampa's team.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Yankees to Send 36 Players to Instructional League

Here's the list, courtesy of Pete Abe:

Pitchers: Manuel Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Jeremy Bleich, Noel Castillo, Wilkins de la Rosa, Christian Garcia, Brett Marshall, D.J. Mitchell, Jhonny Nunez, Mike O’Brien, Dave Phelps, Matt Richardson, Amauri Sanit, Nik Turley, Arodys Vizcaino.

Catchers: Franciso Cervelli, Kyle Higashioka, Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Chase Weems.

Infielders: Dave Adams, Carmen Angelini, Mitchell Delaney, Corban Joseph, Brandon Laird, Garrison Lassiter, Eduardo Nunez, Jimmy Parades, Damon Sublett, Brad Suttle.

Outfielders: Abraham Almonte, Kelvin DeLeon, Eduardo Sosa, Taylor Grote, Francisco Santana, Chris Smith.

The team will play a six game schedule beginning on September 22.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Interview With Pending Pinstripes

This right here is an interview with one of the guys over at one of the best Yankees Minor League blog called Pending Pinstripes. Thanks so much for your time Ashish.

Here it is:
  1. Dellin Betances is a very intriguing prospect in the Yankee organization. He has huge potential, but struggles a lot with his control. I think its safe to say his ceiling is an ace, but where do you think he realistically ends up?

I honestly believe that he is going to reach his ceiling as an ace, only not as quickly as others. No doubt, Dellin has dynamite stuff. However, the simple fact that his large frame gives him inconsistent mechanics is probably the reason why he isn't flying through the system a la Phil Hughes in 06 and Joba and Ian in 07. At the end of the day, I see Dellin reaching his potential when he's about 24 or 25, kind of like Randy Johnson did. We also have keep in mind that if Dellin decided to go play for powerhouse Vanderbilt instead of sign with the Yankees, this past college season would have just been his sophomore year. One more year to draft eligbility, and for some of the younger prospects, all it takes is one year to iron out all the kinks in their repertories. He’s only 20, and once he learns to throw his three plus pitches with cleaner mechanics, we are all in for a real treat.

  1. Jesus Montero’s hitting ability and power potential are pretty widely known, but there are concerns about his future at the catcher position. Do you think he will be able to stay at catcher, or will he have to move to first base?

I love this question. Only because most people seem to really be pulling for Montero to make the bigs as a catcher. I really hope he makes the big leagues, but not at the catcher position. I am really pulling for Montero to be the Yankees version of David Ortiz, a DH mostly who will play 1st during the interleague games. Right now, the 18 year old, is 6’4, 225. He will no doubt get bigger, and by the time he fills out, he might be in the 240-250 range. I can’t possibly see him remaining at the catcher position at that size. It’s just not possible. With that in mind, the only way to maximize his hitting potential is to move him over to the first base or let him assume dhing duties. That way, we get the most out of him offensively. Besides, we don’t need to worry about catching prospects in the Yankees organization, with the likes of Austin Romine, Francisco Cervelli, Chase Weems, and Kyle Higashioka down on the farm.

  1. What would you say is Austin Jackson’s ceiling?

I think A-Jack’s (the nickname he prefers) ceiling is somewhere between a Curtis Granderson/Torii Hunter type player. I see Austin being a .300/20/.390 player down the road, with tons of extra base hits. I just love his overall ability and his knack for constantly learning and fine tuning his hitting to get better. Next year when he replaces Melky at center, Yankee fans are going to see how truly special this guy really is.

  1. Zach McAllister is having a huge year, posting a 2.53 ERA between Charleston and Tampa. Where do you think he ends up? Does he have ace potential or is he just a groundballing innings eater?

I think he’ll be in Trenton at the start of the 2009 season and remain there for the whole year, regardless of what he does. The next year, we’ll see Z-Mac at Scranton for the beginning of the year, and if he dominates as expected, he will then earn to promotion to the bigs. The last thing the Yankees need is to rush their pitching prospects after what we saw happen to Phil Hughes so far in his major league career. With that being said, when Z-Mac reaches the majors, I see him being the carbon copy of Chien-Ming Wang, a solid #2 in the rotation who will just go absolutely crazy garnering up so many groundouts. Barring injury, I honestly don’t see anything being in Zach’s way.

  1. Brett Gardner was recently called up to the bigs. Do you see him as a legitimate starter or he is he more of a 4th outfielder/pinch-runner?

I see Brett as a legitimate starter hitting in the .290 range with a .400 OBP. You just can’t let his ability to get on base and steal at a great clip rot on a bench, whether it is the Yankees or any other team. People will always have a problem with his power, but he has already shown more power this year at Scranton than in years past. Add in his speed and he will be a XBH hitting machine (primarily doubles and triples). In addition, the game winner he had against the Red Sox and Papelbon truly showed that one doesn’t need tremendous power to prove worthy and essential to a team.

  1. A lot has been made of the switch pitcher Pat Venditte. Does he have a future as a successful major league reliever, or is he a gimmick with mediocre stuff.

I think Pat will definitely find some success as a major league reliever. Do I think he’ll be one of the better relievers in the game if he reaches the major leagues? Not really. He doesn’t have great stuff from either side so how hitters at higher levels adjust to his “style” of pitching remains yet to be seen. I mean the numbers his is putting up, albeit it’s at Short Season, are pretty darn good. He’s got all of our attention that’s for sure.

  1. Who is the most underrated prospect in the Yankee system right now? Is there anyone who may be on the verge of breaking out?

Manny Bareda, in my opinion is the most underrated prospect in the Yankees system right now. He gets a bad rap because of his small stature, as others believe that he will break down as a result. That’s not fair, considering the fact that most of the starting pitchers who get injured in today’s game happen to be guys with huge frames. In my opinion, small size has no correlation with higher injury probability. The guy has a fastball that tops out around 95 as a starter right now, and a pretty good changeup. I think once the training wheels are taken off a bit, people will see how good this guy really is.

Next year, the player I see on the verge of breaking out is Austin Romine, in my opinion the future catcher of the Yankees of many years to come.  No doubt Jesus Montero was the breakout player this year. Austin could have given Montero a run for his money this year, but the simple fact that Austin was out for an extended period of time earlier in the season might be the reason why I think Austin hasn’t been getting enough recognition as Montero. Next year, that will change. If healthy, he will not only be better defensively, but I believe he will be hitting over 300, with a 350+ OBP clip, with low strike out totals, and many extra base hits. By the end of next season, Austin will vault himself into the top 10 in terms of Yankees prospects and will succeed Jorge Posada as the next Yankees backstop. Yeah, you could probably say that I’m really high on him.

  1. Ivan Nova is another young pitcher with good potential who hasn’t been putting very good numbers. Will he be able to figure it out, and if so, what is his ceiling?

I think he’ll toil away in the minors and never be able to make the majors as a starter. Maybe he does it as a reliever, but he is SO inconsistent. He is sort of an enigma, as it is so difficult for Ivan to string two good starts together. Realistically, I see the Yankees organization switching Ivan to a reliever, as they can afford such a change with the starting pitching depth they have in terms of prospects. When they do that and if he makes the majors, I see Ivan as a serviceable reliever but nothing to get excited about.

9. Jose Tabata has been having a very rough season in Trenton. He is still only nineteen, but does he have a future as a successful major leaguer?

I think he will find success. After all, he is only 19 playing at the Double A level. Now obviously he has the opportunity to make the majors with the Pirates, which can only help him as pressure is miniscule over at Pittsburgh compared to the big stage in New York. I ranked Jose as my #1 prospect before the season started, and I still believe in him. He’s immature right now and still a kid. Things did not pan out for him this year. That is why he will come even harder next year to reclaim his prospect status. The weight issues can be solved. His hitting slumps can be solved. Jose just needs to focus better, and I believe he will do that, next year as he is playing with a chip on his shoulder. I think the Yankees jumped the gun with this one, but it’s in the past now.

  1. There is a lot of hype surrounding Mark Melancon. It seems like he may eventually replace Mariano Rivera as closer. I think its safe to say he won’t be as good as Mo, but how good can he be?

There is no way Mark will be able to duplicate what Mo has done over his career. Then again, I don’t think anyone will be able to do so. However, I believe Mark will be really good, establishing himself as one of the better closers in the game when he replaces Mo. I think he is fairly comparable to Jason Isringhausen. So, I think we can realistically expect Mark with a low-mid 2ish ERA.  However, for the time being, if he does get called up in the near future (that is sometime this year), I see the Yankees being very very careful with him. He’s already logged so many innings. The last thing the Yankees need is for Mark to get injured again. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some Minor News

In case you were wondering who that man starting in left field tonight, it is Justin Christian, a 28 year old outfielder who was called up today (Billy Traber was demoted). Christian has been hitting well in AAA, and also provides speed on the basepaths. Also, Humberto Sanchez finally made his debut in the Yankee system tonight. The righty came over in the Gary Sheffield deal, and though he was previously a starter, will pitch out of the bullpen this year, and maybe forever. He went two thirds of an inning, allowing a run on a hit. The line really isn't important tonight, its more important that he actually pitched.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Aceves Promoted

Minor league pitcher Alfredo Aceves was promoted to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre tonight, making that two levels in about half a season. Don't think this guy is some kind of prodigy, he is 25 years old, and pitched in the Mexican League last year, which is about equal to AAA in America. Aceves is having a great season but he is by no means a prospect, and may never help the Yankees at the big league level.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Game 71: Padres at Yankees

YANKEES (37-33)
Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Giambi 1B
Posada C
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF
Pettitte LHP

It'll be a matchup of lefties as Randy Wolfe faces Andy Pettitte.

Notes: Dan Giese has been named the starter for Saturday vs. the Reds. The Staten Island Yankees will be playing the Brooklyn Cyclones on SNY at 7:00.

Update 8:57: My bad, the Staten Island game is not on SNY, but Thursday's should be. Good to see Pettitte pitching well. 9 K's so far. Also, why Billy Traber? His minor league numbers are crappy and he's already shown that he can't get it done at the major league level. David Robertson probably needs some more time, but why not Scott Patterson?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

News and Notes:

Some news to hold you over until the late start:
  • The Yankees are one of fourteen times looking at signing recent Cuban defector Dayan Viciedo. Viciedo plays mostly third base, but can also play short and the outfield. He is eighteen years old and began playing pro ball in Cuba at age fifteen
  • Pending Pinstripes has the roster for the 2008 Staten Island Yankees. Look out for guys like Chase Weems, Zoilo Almonte and Pat Venditte
  • According to Chad Jennings via River Ave. Blues, JB Cox has hit the DL. He was a candidate for a promotion to the major league bullpen. Chad is unsure of what the injury is, hopefully nothing serious

Sunday, February 24, 2008


The AL east race is now over. The Red Sox have signed righty/fatass Bartolo Colon to a minor-league deal. Well, that's it. Colon is a bona fide ace. He posted a 6.34 ERA (72 ERA+) last year in 99.1 IP. In the last two years, he has thrown 155.2 innings. Work. Horse. He has a career 4.10 ERA (112 ERA+) and a 1.33 WHIP. He also has a career 7 K/0 and 3 BB/9. Sheer dominance. Not to mention his robust size. He is listed at 5'11, 250 lbs of sheer musc fluff. According to reports, Colon was throwing in the mid to high 80's in the Dominican winter league. MID TO HIGH 80'S! On top of all that, as if it could get any better, he has done this all before age 35. That's right, he's only 34 years old. The Yankees are screwed. SCREWED I tell you.