Going Away June 20, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Uncategorized.
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Hey all: I’ll be away in Ecuador until July 15th, so I won’t be able to post frequently, if at all. I’ll try to have someone cover with some of our stuff while I’m gone. Hopefully everything will be alright.
Injuries and Transactions, Pt. II June 18, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Juan Miranda, Sidney Ponson.
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Continuing from the last post:
06/16/08, AAA: 1B Juan Miranda (shoulder) activated from the 7-day DL
06/18/08, MLB: Yankees claim RHP Oneli Rodriguez from the Cleveland Indians and assign him to AA TRE; transfer RHP Jon Albaladejo to the 60-day DL
AAA: Yankees sign RHP Sidney Ponson, formerly of the Texas Rangers, to a minor league contract
Miranda isn’t much of a top-30 range prospect anymore at 25, not necessarily because his 25 but because he could be older, about 27. He is a platoon 1B/DH, hitting an abysmal .162/.225/.189 against them. Overall he’s hitting a pedestrian .261/.388/.400. A recurring injury has sapped his power, and I’d like to see him finish out the season to pass judgment.
Before I get to Ponson, let me say that Rodriguez, a pitcher who’s been waived twice and knocked around in AAA. He features a low-90s fastball with an average slider, and really doesn’t have much of a future. Let’s see what organizational guru Nardi Contreras can do with him; otherwise he’s a waste of a good 40-man spot and is an ever-present DFA candidate when the need so arises.
Now to Ponson. Besides the fact that Ponson is panzón (link posted for you non-Spanish-speakers out there), he’s a terrible pitcher. He’s a shell of his former self, which was never great to begin with but was pretty good in 2003. His “success” in Texas before being released for character issues was largely luck-related, with a 4.04 K/9 and a 1.56 WHIP. He posted a respectable 10.47 ERA (sarcasm intended) for the Yanks in 2006, and he’s journeyed around since. Besides the character issues, his stuff has diminished, and there are likely better internal options. Another 40-man wasted spot, but he’ll get consideration for the June 27 double-header against the circus team.
Injuries and Transactions, Pt. I June 18, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Billy Traber, David Robertson, Frankie Cervelli, J. Brent Cox, Kevin Whelan.
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Over the past week the organization has had a bunch of injuries and/or transactions. So, I’ll list the earliest and arguably, for some of them, the least important ones here. The important ones are in bold, with reaction below.
06/11/08, AAA: RHP Jeff Karstens activated, RHP J.B. Cox placed on the 7-day DL with shoulder soreness
06/17/08 MLB: Chien-Ming Wang placed on the 15-day DL with a strained Lisfranc ligament and a partial tear of the peroneal longus, LHP Billy Traber recalled from AAA S/WB
AA: INF Kevin Russo placed on the 7-day DL with a depressed fractured of the Zygomatic arch near his left temporal bone, RHP Kevin Whelan promoted to AA TRE
A: C Francisco Cervelli activated from the 7-day DL and as assigned to A TAM
First, let’s go with Cox. He’s coming back from TJ surgery, and, according to Nardi Contreras via Chad Jennings, this is expected with TJ rehabbers. Not much worry, but this is setting him back from a Major League promotion yet again. He should get his chance by year’s end.
Now with Traber. Yes, he’s a lefty with a new slider, and yes the Padres and Reds are chockful of lefties (Brian Giles, Adrian Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Adam Dunn, and Ken Griffey Jr.). But the guy has an 85MPH fastball out of the bullpen with a terrible slurvy curveball and the aforementioned slider, not to mention poor mechanics. David Robertson has been owning at AAA, with, in his last 16IP (covering 10 games), striking out 30 to a 1.06 WHIP. The guy’s stuff is really impressive, particularly the curveball. He isn’t Joba but he is a better option than Traber.
With Whelan and Cervelli, these are two players whose injuries have stunted their development for a while. Whelan was out for more than a month, and Cervelli for about two and a half. Both have questions about them that they have to answer, and the answers may not come this season. For Whelan, it’s control, which has been decent other than his five-walk outing. For Cervelli, it’s power and season-long endurance, the former which is difficult coming off a fractured wrist and is the only element of his game needed for him to eventually be a quality starting MLB catcher; the latter obviously will have to wait until 2009. I’m not sure he’s that much of a top-30 range prospect anymore, but he’s still 23 and this isn’t his fault. We’ll see.
Charleston’s All-Stars Shine, SI Yanks’ Season Kicks Off June 18, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Abraham Almonte, C.J. Henry, Charleston RiverDogs, David Adams, Jesus Montero, Justin Snyder, Pat Venditte, Taylor Grote.
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Last night was Charleston’s Home Run Derby and All-Star Game. Of course, Jesus Montero was in both, and Montero finished second to Hagerstown’s (WAS) Michael Burgess. In the game, he started, DHing and hitting 6th, and went 0-2. Justin Snyder, Abe Almonte, Lance Pendelton, Jason Stephens, and Jon Ortiz also appeared in the game. Of the prospects:
Snyder: 1-2, R, K
Almonte: 0-2, K
Both came in the sixth.
In other news, the Staten Island Yankees (A-) started their season. There aren’t many prospects on the team, but the players worth looking at are Taylor Grote, David Adams, and Pat Venditte. Two sleepers on the team are D.J. Hollingsworth and Raymond Kruml. Anyway, it was a 3-1 loss to the rival Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM).
Lastly, C.J. Henry, the Yankees’ first rounder in 2005, returned to action with A+ Tampa on the night before last. In his first full day of action, he went 1-3 with a double.
Wang Out for More Than 6 Weeks June 16, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Chien-Ming Wang, Derek Lowe, DL Stint, Injuries, Rich Harden, Trade Rumors.
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This via PeteAbe:
RHP Chien-Ming Wang was examined today at New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia Medical Center by Yankees Team Physician, Dr. Stuart Hershon and Dr. Justin Greisberg, Foot and Ankle Specialist.
Imaging studies revealed a mid-foot sprain of the Lisfranc ligament of the right foot and a partial tear of the peroneal longus tendon of the right foot.
Wang will be on crutches and wear a protective boot for a minimum of six weeks.
Well, beyond the obvious fact that he’ll be on the DL and someone needs to replace him, this is terrible news. Six weeks later puts us at July 26th, at which time he’ll need to resume throwing, which may be about a month. At this point you’re talking about
But it’s not that terrible. This isn’t losing A-Rod for six weeks, it’s losing a pitcher who does his work every five days for about 20 starts, which is a lot but it’s certainly not the end of the world. There are options to fill the void.
First, we have to turn to Dan Giese–he’s been lights-out in the pen and in Scranton, even if he doesn’t have the fastball (87-88). Giese should give the Yanks some time to let Daniel McCutchen and/or Alan Horne make a case for themselves and develop. Don’t forget Ian Kennedy, who’s should be back after getting at least two (which, in Yankeeland, means more) starts, and hopefully he progresses.
The other option, of course, is to turn to the trade market. As Tim Dierkes of MLBTR notes, Joe Blanton, Rich Harden, Erik Bedard, Derek Lowe, C.C. Sabathia, Randy Wolf, Kevin Millwood, Vincente Padilla, and Paul Byrd. The Rangers released Sidney Ponson as the Brewers did to Jeff Weaver, and the Mariners (besides doing themselves a favor in firing Bill Bavasi) demoted Miguel Batista to the bullpen. I don’t think that anyone in the system can give any less than Padilla, Byrd, Ponson, Batista, or Weaver (yuck), so we can cancel those out. Millwood is 34, miserable, and expensive, so cross him out too. Lowe is 35 and earns $10M, but he’s well worth it, particularly with how he eats innings and is very effective in his sinkerballing ways. He’d be a solid acquisition, and will certainly be a Type A player after the season, netting us picks. Bedard is struggling, so I’d want no part of him. Blanton has lost some his fastball already at 28 with the reputation of a groundballing innings-eater, but there isn’t much upsider or much to like. Harden has sick stuff and has ace potential, and would be a great acquisition, but the big if (BIG IF) is if he can stay healthy. Wolf has never pitched in the AL, and, despite posting great numbers, doesn’t have enough stuff to do it in the junior circuit, either. Sabathia, is, well, Sabathia, but he’d cost a king’s ransom of prospects, which the Yankees might not be prepared to give up.
I think we can fill the Wang hole internally, but we can do great by getting ourselves Lowe or Harden, and, if you want to swallow trading a big prospect, Sabathia.
Yankees Sweep Series in Houston June 16, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alex Rodriguez, Chien-Ming Wang, Houston Astros, Injuries, Robinson Cano, Stupid Bud Selig....
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After a close victory in the first game, the Yankees came from behind off Wandy Rodriguez (with a 1.99 ERA coming in) and beat the Astros, 8-3. Mike Mussina excelled after surrendering a 3-run blast to Carlos Lee in the first inning, and in total allowed 6H, 0BB, and 3ER in 6IP while striking out 4. He only needed 89 pitches, and of those he threw 65 for strikes (73%), along with a 8-5 GB-FB ratio. His command of all his pitches was great, and he is continuing his All-Star season.
Offensively, the team was resilient after a big Houston first. A-Rod hit a homer that barely cleared the stands, with back-to-back Jason Giambi and Melky Cabrera doubles. In the third, for some reason Alex Rodriguez is intentionally walked with Johnny Damon on first (it’s only the third!), and back-to-back walks to Giambi and Cabrera score Damon. Fast forwarding to the eighth, Robinson Cano drives in Cabrera on a pinch-hit single to center, and Wilson Betemit hit a rocket double to drive in Damon and Rodriguez in the ninth.
Yesterday, the Yankees won, 13-0, it’s largest road shutout win since 2002. It was a day full of offense, the highlights being A-Rod and Posada homers (12th and 3rd, respectively) and 2-4 days for Cano (3RBI) and Derek Jeter (2RBI). Besides all the hits (15), the Yankees were patient and took advantage of walks galore (7 issued by Houston pitching) and an ineffective Roy Oswalt.
But all this doesn’t matter with the big news of the day. Chien-Ming Wang was injured rounding 3rd on an RBI hit by Jeter in the 6th, knocking him out of the game. It was his foot, which he needed crutches to walk with and had all iced up after the game. (More info in the next post.) Such pitchers’ injuries speaks to the asinine nature of AL pitchers hitting in interleague play. Pitchers coming up in AL organizations don’t hit in the minors, and there’s a DH in every league in the world except the NL and Japan’s Central League. Pitchers who don’t hit or run the bases are susceptible to this because they’re not used to it, and they don’t have to be–they never do it anyway. AL pitchers don’t take batting practice or run bases in practice until the week of games, so they’re not conditioned (in this case meaning “not trained to,” not “not fit”) to be ready. So why would MLB make them do it? What tradition are we preserving? Are the fans or the players more important? Don’t answer to quickly–without good players there are no fans.
Chamberlain Good Enough to Win June 16, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Game Recaps, Houston Astros, Joba Chamberlain, Jose Veras.
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Joba Chamberlain wasn’t dominating, but he was good enough to win. In 6IP, he allowed 6H and 4BB while striking out only 2 in 89 pitches of work. He was scheduled for 95 pitches but was removed because his turn at the bat was scheduled in the next inning. The walks were high, particularly after being quite economical through the first two innings. The strikeouts were also low, but part of that is his being economical. I’m not concerned with the latter two elements because it’s just one start.
On the other hand, Shawn Chacon’s dominance of the Yankee offense is quite alarming. Chacon is a pitcher with below-average to average stuff who has struggled this year and since his DFA from the Yankees, and was battling cramps as well. Of course, that means that the Yankees were bound to be owned by him, which is completely what happened and what has happened for quite a few years now. The offense couldn’t take advantage of four free passes and could only muster three hits off the journeyman righty. The Yankees have really got to not turn their drive off just because some crappy pitcher is out there, because they can do better and have done better against average to above-average pitchers.
Moreover, the ‘Stros ran all over Jorge Posada (4SB) and took advantage of Chamberlain’s slow move to the plate. Posada, of course, is recovering from his labrum injury and he couldn’t get all of these attempts anyway. On the bright side, he caught 3 would-bes, making a great 43% success rate.
For one night, at least, Derek Jeter lived up to his “Captain Clutch” moniker and hit a go-ahead blast to right off Doug Brocail.
Yankees Win Two of Three in Oakland June 14, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, Ian Kennedy, Oakland A's, Series Recaps.
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Overall, the Yankees did well in Oakland. The first game was one where Wang came up huge and regained his form. (See here for more details.) In the second game, a Jason Giambi error didn’t help Darrell Rasner, who took a page out of the IPK book and started nibbling, getting shelled for 7ER in 3.2IP. At that point, the rest of the game didn’t matter. However, birthday boy Hideki Matsui hit a grand slam for the Yankees’s only runs in the last game of the series against Justin Duscherer. Matsui’s slam was the only time a Yankee has ever hit a grand slam on his birthday.
The pitching was generally good, as Wang had a great first game and Andy Pettitte pitched eight innings of 1-run ball. Both Wang and Petttitte returned to form, which is nice to see and hopefully continues. The offense wasn’t great (3, 4, and 4 runs scored) , but it was enough to win. The defense was also good save for two Jason Giambi errors.
However, Rasner’s outing was troubling. His prior performance this year wasn’t sustainable, with a 41% GB rate with only a 15.6% K/PA rate. Before his latest performance his FIP was almost a run higher than his ERA (now it is lower). Moreover, his HR/FB rate is remarkably low at 4%, less than the league average at 11%. Now that he has seemingly touched earth, it remains to be seen how long he gets before he gives way to Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy.
Tim Russert: A Legend June 13, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Death, Off-Topic.
As many of us have heard, Tim Russert, a legendary newsman who was a moderator of “Meet the Press” and the chief of NBC News’s Washington Bureau Chief, has died at the age of 58 from an apparent heart attack. Russert was an icon of television for years, best known for his “Meet the Press” but also was a political insider, correspondent, intellectual, man, friend, father, son, and joy to many Americans. I, for one, enjoyed his devoted journalism and watched “Meet the Press” as well as his work on NBC and MSNBC. Americans will miss him, I will miss him, and, I, also speaking many Americans, say thank you, Tim. Rest in peace.
Wang Regains His Form, Melky Proves Us Wrong…For One Day June 11, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Chien-Ming Wang, Game Recaps, Melky Cabrera.
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I’ll briefly go over last night’s game: Chien-Ming Wang made the recommended adjustments to his mechanics, and pitched beautifully with this line: 7.1IP, 7H, 1ER, 2BB, 2K, 15-5 GB-FB. The last number is beautiful and quite telling of the clinic he went on yesterday. Jose Veras relieved him in the eighth and finished loading the bases before wriggling out of it, and Mo pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.
On the offensive, A-Rod and Jason Giambi had RBI singles of Dana Eveland in the first inning, and Melky Cabrera homered off Keith Foulke. It’s a testament to how far Foulke has declined, but we hope it’s Melky finding something between his April and May selves, as he hasn’t homered in over a month but has hit .296/.321/.407. I still want to see what Brett Gardner can do…