Friday, May 20, 2011

Prospect Update May 20th

Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees 5-6 loss to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Jesus Montero had a very nice game going 1-4 with a double and 3 RBIs.  Jorge Vazquez didn't have quite as good of a day going 1-4.  Brandon Laird went 1-4 with a run.

On the pitching from Kevin Whalen blew the save and then got the loss giving up 2 runs in only 1 inning.

Trenton Thunder 3-1 victory over the Portland Sea Dogs
Even with the win this was not a good offensive day for the Thunder.  The prospect doing anything good was Corban Joseph 2-3 with a triple and a run scored.

However, on the pitching side Dellin Betances, a top ten prospect, pitched 5 innings giving up only 1 run, while striking out 5.  He lowered his ERA to 0.94 and got his record to 3-1.

Tampa Yankees 5-4 victory in 10 innings of the St. Lucie Mets
Robert Lyerly will not stop hitting, going 2-5 with 2 RBIs.  Luke Murton went 1-2 with 2 walks and Kevin Mahoney went 1-5 with a run.

Charleston RiverDogs 4-2 victory over Augusta GreenJackets
Slade Heathcott had a big day going 3-4 with 2 runs.  JR Murphy went 1-4 with a double and an RBI and Gary Sanchez went 1-3.

Giants vs Dodgers May 19th

The past two games had been small crowds and not a ton of excitement in the stadium.  This was going to be the game that changed that.  After all just months ago a Giants fan was beaten into a coma over this same rivalry.  So on my walk to the stadium (and for anyone else thinking of walking to Dodger Stadium from Chinatown it is an interesting walk) I was excited to see a packed house of rabid fans creating a great game day experience.   Upon arriving at Dodger Stadium about 45 min early (we tried to get their earlier but got lost on the walk there) as expected the crowd had not arrived yet.  So I was still excited as some fans seemed to be pretty intense yelling at the top of their lungs from the upper decks, my excitement grew.  But as game time grew closer and closer Dodger Stadium was not filling up.  The game started and there were still tons of empty seats.  At this point I remembered what a friend of mine from LA had said about LA people, they like to show up fashionably late.  However, there were still about 20 sections that were completely empty.  As the game dragged on it then became apparent that this stadium was not going to fill up.  Although the announced attendance was 34, 248 my dad and I estimated the real number to be closer to 25,000.  The place was empty.  Not only were there 20 empty sections the entire game but every section had empty seats.  This was supposed to be the top west coast rivalry and they can't even get remotely close to a sell out.

And the sad part about this was that the lack of fans was even the worse part of the game.  First I have some advice for anyone going to Dodger Stadium, don't sit in Row A of section 40 field level.  This is the first row behind the box seats and they have not put enough height between it and the boxes in front of you to allow you to see over the people in the row in front of you.  We ended up moving seats backwards to have any shot at seeing the game.  The worst part was that these people weren't there to watch a baseball game.  They were there to be at the stadium and had no idea what was going on in the game, which can be easily seen by people constantly walking up and down the isles blocking the view of other fans.  One interesting note about the fans was that at no other stadium have I seen fans get this excited to be on the megatron.  In most stadiums they get pretty excited but these fans took it to the next level.

Ok enough about the the stadium, what about the game?  Well the first thing that needs to be talked about is the brilliant pitching performance of Madison Bumgarner.  He pitch 8.2 great innings and was one out away from a shutout.  However, with that one out left he got himself into a jam, gave up a run, and Brian Wilson was brought into the game (something I was happy about since its Brian Wilson).  He however, almost blew the game and if it weren't for a diving catch by Nate Schierholtz he would have had a blown save.  But back to Bumgarner who earned his first win on the season and looked like the prize prospect he was once thought to be.  The other player on the Giants side that I was interested to see was Buster Posey.  Again a former top prospect who has been great in his short MLB career.  He did not disappoint going 1-3 with a double, a run, a walk, and a HBP.

On the Dodger's side, they had Chad Billingsley going.  When I saw this pitching matchup I got very excited because they are both young promising pitchers.  Billingsley pitched a decent game,a quality start, going six inning and giving up only 3 runs.  However, he couldn't match Bumgarner and got the loss.  A few intersting player notes from the dodgers side was the pinch hitting of Tony Gwynn Jr.  He is obviously nowhere as good as his father but good to see bloodlines continue in the game especially ones as good as Gwynns.  Another interesting not of a player I had forgotten about was that former Oriole Jay Gibbons is on the Dodgers, which I had no idea about.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Prospect Update May 19th

Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees were rained out

Trenton Thunder 9-6 victory in 16 innings over the Erie SeaWolves
In this game the Thunder offense had a good day.  Top prospect Austin Romine went 2 for 7 with a double, a run and a RBI.  Brad Suttle went 1 for 6 with a HR, a run, and 3 RBIs.  Corban Joseph went 1 for 6 with a run.

On the pitching side, switch pitcher Pat Venditte went 1 inning striking out 2.  Kei Igawa went 4.2 innings giving up only 1 run.  I don't know if he can be considered a prospect, but he is a notable name in the Yankee system.

Tampa Yankees 6-4 victory over the St. Lucie Mets
Robert Lyerly went 1 for 4.  Kevin Mahoney had a good day getting 3 hits in 5 at bats with a double and a RBI. Luke Murton went 2 for 5 with a run.

Chase Whitley got his 4th save of the season, pitching 2 scoreless inning and lowering his season ERA to 1.65.

Charleston RiverDogs 4-3 victory in 12 innings over the Savannah Sand Gnats
Top prospect Slade Heathcott went 0 for 6 in his return after his fight against a Red Sox minor leaguer.  Gary Sanchez went went 0 for 4.  Eduardo Sosa went 3 for 5 with 2 RBIs.  Rob Segedin went 1 for 5 with a double, a run, and a RBI.

Ones that Got Away: Ian Kennedy

Previous segments: Jose Tabata
In these segments I will detail former Yankee prospects who were traded and have since become successful players for other teams.  The second in this series will be Ian Kennedy

Three team trade with the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks:
Yankees get:Curtis Granderson
Yankees give up: Kennedy, Austin Jackson, and Phil Coke

Background: Ian Kennedy was first drafted in 2003 in the 14th round by the St. Louis Cardinals.  However, he did not sign and instead chose to go to the University of Southern California.  Then he returned to the draft in 2006 and was taken by the Yankees in the first round, 21st overall pick.  By 2007 he was rated the #5 overall prospect in the Yankee system by Baseball America.  He climbed to #4 in 2008.  He made his major league debut in September of 2007 for the Yankees and in three games started that season went 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA.  During the 2008 season he went back and forth from the minors and majors.  In the minors he pitched splendidly, going 6-3 with a 2.22 ERA.  However, this same pitching would not be seen in the Bronx.  In 10 appearances, 9 starts, he went 0-4 with an 8.17 ERA.  In 2009 he got injured and only appeared in 5 games between the minors and majors.  This lead to him being traded in December of 2009.

Since being trade: Kennedy joined the Diamondbacks on their major league squad in 2010 and didn't disappoint.  He made a full 32 starts, and while his record was only 9-10 his ERA was a very respectable 3.80.  The poor record can most likely be the fault of the poor Diamondbacks offense.  This year he has not regressed at all.  Through nine games pitched on the season he is 4-1 with a 3.05 ERA.   

Comments on Trade: Looking back on this trade it seems the Yankees gave up a little to much for Curtis Granderson.  Although Granderson has lived up to his billing and more as a very good outfielder the prospects given up have become solid major leaguers.  Just as in the previous edition of "Ones that Got Away" this trade has two as well.  The other one being Austin Jackson.  Right now the Yankees could very much use a quality arm like Ian Kennedy since their rotation has been a key concern this season.  So it looks as though Cashman gave up a little to much to get Granderson, although you can't fault him to much since Granderson has become a top notch player and is a very respected person.

Brewer at Padres May 18th

So in game two my father and I went to Petco Park in San Diego to see the Brewers take on the Padres.  We had very good seats, 5 rows from the field in shallow left field, and were surrounded by Brewers fans.  By the end their may have been more Brewers fans in the park with an attendance of only 16,901 for the game.  The stadium on a whole was very nice.  Much more open than Chase Field and really gave you the feeling of being outside, which was nice.  It was, however, a little chilly by San Diego standards but still manageable.  Again I don't know what it is with these parks but Petco again failed to flash the pitches lines after the pitchers were removed.  Very frustrating in trying to keep score because one of Moseley's runs was unearned.  They also waited until about 15 minutes before the game to announce the lineups, which was the opposite of Chase Field who had lineups up when we got here an hour before the game.    

But on to the game itself.  In this game we again got to see Cameron Maybin, although this time in only a pinch hitting role. In my last game breakdown I had talked about how he had flopped.  However, from the stats posted at Petco he seems to be having a very nice season with the Padres which makes the Marlins look very stupid for giving up on him.

The only offense produced by the Padres was a two run home run by Ryan Ludwick.  This was the second home run we have seen Ludwick hit on this trip as he also homered at Chase Field.  Besides from that the Padres offense was stifled by Yovani Gallardo who pitched brilliantly.  Striking out 9 in 6 innings, while only giving up 2 runs.  Gallardo has really blossomed into the pitcher the Brewers were hoping.  Since he was brought up he has had a lot of expectations and is continuing to fulfill them.

The Brewers on the other hand got more production from their offense.  But when you have the likes of Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, and Rickie Weeks, this is to be expected.  Weeks was the only of those to go hitless and had an awful day which included striking out with two outs and the bases loaded in the  6th inning.  But Fielder had 2 hits with 2 runs and an RBI; Braun had a hit, a run, and a RBI; and Hart had 3 hits and scored a run.  So the top guys who have been anchoring the lineup for some time now came through for the Brewers.

Two notes of old players that I didn't know were still in MLB from last night.  First, Mark Kotsay is on the Brewers and actually had himself a day with 3 hits and 2 RBIs.  I had thought that he had retired by now.  Second, which I saw on the scoreboard from a highlight from the Rockies game was the Jason Giambi is still playing big league ball.  I thought the former Yankee had retired a few years ago but he made the final out in the Rockies game, which the Padres fans cheered about.

Another former Yankee who played in the Padres game was starting pitcher Dustin Moseley.  He had once been a Yankee reliever/spot starter.  He got the start and went 5.1 innings giving up 3 runs, 2 of which were earned.  I didn't know that he was a starter for the Padres but looked decent until he got in to a jam in the sixth.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Prospect Update May 18th

Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees 4-5 loss to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs
The biggest name at this level Jesus Montero was held hitless going 0-5 on the night.  However, Jorge Vazquez, Justin Maxwell, and Brandon Laird all had three hits including a HR and 3 RBIs for Laird.

On the pitching side, starter and touted prospect Adam Warren made the start.  He, however, only lasted 4 innings after throwing 93 pitches and giving up 3 runs.  The other notable pitcher was Kevin Whalen who pitched 2/3 innings of shutout baseball to close out the game.

Trenton Thunder were rained out

Tampa Yankees 5-4 victory over the St. Lucie Mets
Even with 5 runs this was a relatively quiet game offensively.  Kevin Mahoney had a double and 2 runs scored.  Robert Lyerly cooled off a little bit going 1-4 on the day.

Charleston Riverdogs 4-8 loss to the Savannah Sand Gnats
In this game JR Murphy had a single and a run scored.  Gary Sanchez had a good day going 2-4 with a run scored.  Ramon Flores and Eduardo Sosa both went 1-4 with Sosa having 2 RBIs.

Ones that Got Away: Jose Tabata

In these segments I will detail former Yankee prospects who were traded and have since become successful players for other teams.  The first in this series will be Jose Tabata

Trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates: Tabata, Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen and Ross Ohlendorf for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady

Background: Tabata was signed by the Yankees out of Venezuela in 2004.  By 2006 he had climbed to be ranked as the number 2 Yankee prospect by Baseball America behind Phil Hughes.  However by 2008 reports started to come out that he coasted off his talent and that he was lazy.  This is not a good stigma for a prospect to have.  Then came to big hit.  His wife, who was twice his age, was charged with child abduction of a two year old.  Although Jose stuck by his innocence this was not something the Yankees wanted to have to deal with in their system.  This to go along with the fact that he was hitting under .250 for the AA Trenton Thunder did not bode well for Tabata.  So in mid 2008 he was part of the trade shown above.

Since being trade:  After his trade in 2008, he turned on his game.  The remainder of the season he played for the Pirates AA team and hit almost .350.  In 2010, after playing the first 53 for Pittsburgh's AAA team and batting .308 he was called up to the major leagues.  In the 103 games that Tabata played in the majors in 2010 he hit .299 with 21 doubles, 19 SBs, 4 HRs, and 35 RBIs.  These statistics were good enough for him to place 8th in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.  In his 2011 campaign, he has had more limited success.  He is now hitting only .233 but continues to steal bases and is the starting left fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Comments on Trade: So looking back on this trade, it seems the Yankees made a mistake in putting Tabata in this deal.  Although at the time some negative things had come out about him, they sold him low in that package for a mediocre outfielder who would only play limited time in his Yankee career due to injuries and a decent left handed reliever.  To get this they gave up an outfielder who is still only 22 and shows much promise plus other pitcher, one who I will detail in a later addition of "Ones that Got Away" in Ross Ohlendorf.

Stuck in the System: The Austin Romine Story

If you were to look at the top 10 prospects lists at the top of this blog you would notice something quite unique about the Yankee system, it is full of catchers.  Out of the top 10, three of them are catchers.  This is a rare luxury that the Yankees have especially since they have just signed Russell Martin who is having a wonderful season so far in the Bronx.  

So with three talented catchers in the system they can not all make it to the big leagues.  This is the problem for Austin Romine.  Although he is touted to be the best defensive catcher in the Yankees by Baseball America, of the top 3 catchers in the system he is the worst hitter.  Now this is not to say he is a bad hitter. Right now he is playing for the AA Trenton Thunder.  His season line is a .274 average with 3 HR and 20 RBIs, which is very respectable for a catcher.  However, when you compare this to Jesus Montero it is not quite as impressive.  He is hitting over .330 for the AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees.

This has been the struggle for Austin his entire career.  Ever since being drafted in the second round of the MLB draft in 2007 out of high school he has always been that other catcher since Montero was signed in 2006.  Then to make matters worse for Romine the Yankees spent $3 million in 2009 to sign another top catching prospect from South America.  This was Gary Sanchez.  Who is currently struggling at the plate in A Charleston but is touted to have a bat similar to Montero's. 

This all puts Romine in a very tough spot.  For now even though he has proven himself at AA Trenton there is no room for him to move.  Since the AAA spot is taken by Montero and in the majors Martin looks like he isn't giving up the catching spot this season.  So for Romine he is now stuck waiting at AA.  So what should be done about this?  When looking at this I think the Yankees can get good value by trading Romine.  He is touted as a very solid all around catcher.  He is supposed to have a rocket arm and can hit very reasonably for a catcher.  Therefore with catcher not a problem in the minor league system and a need for SP and some hitting in the Bronx and trade of Romine seems like a viable option.  Now I unfortunately have not heard any rumblings about a trade involving him but could definitely see his name being thrown around as the trading deadline comes closer.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Prospect Update May 17th

Scranton/ Wilkes Barre Yankees 3-7 loss to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
The top prospect in the Yankee system catcher Jesus Montero went 1 for 5 with a single.  The Yankees most productive hitter at this level, based on HR and RBIs, Jorge Vazquez continued his hot hitting.  He went 2 for 4 with both of those hits being home runs.  This lead him to have 2 runs and 3 RBIs.  Third baseman Brandon Laird another top prospect at this level went 1 for 4 with single.  Other notable offensive prospects at this level Jordan Parraz went 0 for 3 and Ramiro Pena went 1 for 4.

On the pitching side of things, David Phelps had a bad outing.  He pitched only 4 innings giving up 4 earned runs to get the loss.  The loss drops him to 2-4 on the season.

Trenton Thunder 0-1 loss to Erie SeaWolves
This team had many top prospect playing tonight.  On the offensive side they were very quiet. Cather Austin Romine went 1 for 3 with a single.  Oufielder Melky Mesa went 0 for 1 with three walks.  Second baseman Corban Joseph went 0 for 4 and third baseman Brad Suttle went 0 for 2 with 2 walks.  Not many big offensive days as they didn't score a single run.

On the pitching side top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos pitched six shutout innings.  He struck out 7 while only giving up 2 hits.  However, the bullpen was not able to hold it for him so he recorded a no-decision.

Tampa Yankees 4-10 loss to Palm Beach Cardinals
At this level there are less top prospects but still some guys who could possibly make it to the big leagues.  One of them, Luke Murton went 0 for 5 with a strikeout.  A hitter who remains hot is Robert Lyerly.  In this game he went 4 for 5 in the 3 spot in the order.  He had a double and three RBIs.

Charleston RiverDogs 9-4 win over the Savannah Sand Gnats
Finally a win for the Yankee minor league teams today.  Although the team won the big names at this level didn't have a big day.  JR Murphy went 0 for 3 with a run and Gary Sanchez 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI.  The players that had big games at this level were Eduardo Sosa and Ramon Flores who combined for 5 hits, 3 doubles, 3 runs, a HR, and 3 RBIs.

Prospect Update May 16th

Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees were rained out
Trenton Thunder did not have a game
Tampa Yankees 8-4 Victory over Palm Beach Cardinals
In this game Luke Murton the younger brother of former Cub Matt Murton had a single and two RBIs.  The MVP of the game was Kevin Mahoney who went 4 for 5 with a HR and 3 RBIs batting out of the 9 slot.  Continuing his hot hitting for the season was third baseman Robert Lyerly who went 2 for 4 with 2 runs and an RBI to raise his season average to .327.

The winning pitcher of the game was Josh Romanski who went 7 inning and allowed only 4 runs for his 3rd win of the season.  The final big producer was closer Chase Whitley who pitched 2 shutout innings to get his 3rd save.

Charleston RiverDogs 4-8 loss to the Greenville Drive
The top offensive prospects on this team are JR Murphy and Gary Sanchez.  In this game Murphy went 2 for 4 with a run.  Sanchez had a big game going 1 for 3 with a HR, 2 runs and 2 RBIs.

Staten Island Yankees season has yet to start

Padres at Diamondbacks May 16th

So on the first stop on my baseball road trip my dad and I saw a game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona.  There we saw the Padres take on the Dbacks.  The starting pitching matchup was a very interesting one for me.  The starter for the Dbacks was Armando Galarraga, who was one out from a perfect game last year, against Clayton Richards, a former Michigan Wolverine.  Galarraga was far from perfect in this game and gave up 8 runs, only 5 earned.  On the other hand Richards pitched a great game and was one out from a quality start.

Looking through the two lineups there were some interesting players that I had not known were on these teams.  First was Cameron Maybin on the Padres.  He was one of the main parts of the Miguel Cabrera trade a few years back and since he is now on the Padres obviously didn't pan out for the Marlins.  Looking back that was an awful trade for the Marlins.  Giving up a top 5 hitter in baseball for two prospects that didn't pan out.

In the Diamondbacks offense I was very excited to watch Justin Upton as he was a number 1 overall pick and had been a top prospect.  He did not disappoint as he hit a solo shot during the game.  It was good to see some talent working out in MLB.

In the end the Padres won 8-4.  However, the best part of this game was the stadium.  Chase Field was one of the best I've been to (I have now been to 21 parks).  With its retractable roof which was open for the game and big open-able walls it was very similar to Miller Park in Milwaukee.  The stadium much like Yankee Stadium had a huge video board in center field and many other screen to give you as much information during the game as you could want.  The only thing that was not give on the boards that angered my while trying to keep score during the game was that they didn't flash the pitching line of pitches when they were removed from the game.  But besides that it was a great stadium experience and the weather in Phoenix was beatiful.

Mission Statement

The mainstay of this blog will be to do daily updates of top Yankee prospects at all levels of the Yankee farm system.  I will also share some opinions about baseball and the likes.   However, to start this blog I am currently on a baseball road trip with my father and will share some details of this trip.