Some Questions I Answered January 25, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Abraham Almonte, Andrew Brackman, Austin Jackson, Edwar Ramirez, Frankie Cervelli, Jairo Heredia, Jeff Marquez, Joba Chamberlain, Jose Tabata, Kevin Whelan, Phil Hughes, Prylis Cuello, Scott Patterson.
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A fellow blogger asked me several questions regarding the Yankees and the system. These are interesting questions, and either point can be argued. Here are the questions and answers.
Who is your breakout candidate of the year for the Yankee farm system?
Kevin Whelan–I think he’ll get his control together.
If one player is going to disappoint this year in the Yankee farm system, who would you pick?
Jeff Marquez. I don’t think he’s that good, and AAA hitters may finally catch up to him.
Who is your sleeper?
Jairo Heredia–I think his stuff translates into serious results at a young age.
Which Milb-affiliate will be most interesting this year?
AAA Tacoma (Rays)–at various points throughout the season, most (or all) of Evan Longoria, Wade Davis, Jacob McGee, Reid Brignac, David Price, and Desmond Jennings will pass through there.
You’re Brian Cashman in the 2007 draft. Do you select Andrew Brackman? If not, who do you select and why?
I would select Brackman. Pitching depth in the system is incredibly deep, as by the time all of the veteran’s contracts expire, there will be enough spaces for the younger players/prospects, many of whom are turning out nicely. The way things are turning out, there are more prospects than spots, so there is no need for a player who will develop quickly, someone Brackman is not.
Prylis Cuello or Abraham Almonte?
Both are extremely raw and projectable, but I’ll lean towards Almonte, since their isn’t much OF depth in the system.
Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes?
Joba–I may be one of the few who think that injury concerns aren’t a particular problem with Joba–he’s dropped
significant amounts of weight, and he has very good mechanics (for what I hear). Joba’s two (going on three?) plus pitches are better than Hughes’s two. Joba is superior in stuff, strikeouts, and hittability, and, from what we saw last year in the majors, the control is a crapshoot between the two. That said, both will be very good/excellent pitchers for a long time.
Austin Jackson or Jose Tabata?
AJax–he’s a surer bet once his tools translated into success last year. If Tabata develops good power this year, though, I might lean towards Tabata.
Scott Patterson or Edwar Ramirez?
Edwar–he’s the younger of the two Indy leaguers, and his changeup is a plus plus pitch. He can add a little frame to get some juice on his FB, and I think he can add another pitch (curve?). Patterson is in his prime as we speak, and won’t be around for long.
Francisco Cervelli, great catcher or greatest catcher ever?
“Merely” great. I think Cervelli has plus defense, and although he hasn’t shown much power, he has improving contact skills and solid on-base skills. If he adds some power (12-15 HR power)–well, you never know.
On a different note, the mailbag will be up by Sunday–thanks for the responses so far, and keep them coming! Everyone’s questions will be answered.
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Had the midges not attacked, we would be leading this series. But let’s not talk of what might have been.
Had the Yankees lost last night, we would be eliminated and Joe Torre out. Again, though, let’s not talk of what might have been.
Roger Clemens started last night, lasting a mere 2.2 innings while giving up a run in all of them. His hamstring flared up, and there is some likelihood he’ll never pitch again (if he doesn’t, at least he struck out some one to end his career.) Phil Hughes then came in, and after allowing a fly ball double to Jhonny Peralta in the third, he threw a very solid 3.1 innings, striking out 4 and walking none, and allowing only one other hit. If Clemens doesn’t pitch in the ALCS, should the Yankees get that far, count Hughes for Game 3 and Ian Kennedy (remember him?) for Game 4.
However, the momentum changed in the fifth. With the Yankees cutting the Indian lead to 3-2, Johnny Damon steps up to the plate with Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera on base. He homers, and, seemingly out of nowhere, the Yankees have a 5-3 lead. Then, in the next inning, with the bases loaded on a questionable IBB for Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano singles to right, but Trot Nixon lets the ball gets past him and all runners score. With the score then 8-3, the Yankees all but won the game.
Chien-Ming Wang will start tonight, and Andy Pettitte will likely start on Wednesday. However, with Clemens likely out for the rest of the postseason, the Yankees can add another pitcher to take his spot? The four candidates are Ian Kennedy, Chris Britton, Edwar Ramirez, and Ron Villone. It seems, after the first two games, the Yankees needed a long reliever, so that goes for Villone. Joe Torre’s preference for AAAA arms whom he tries to ride out, plus his changeup, states Ramirez’s case. Ian Kennedy gives them another starter, but he has never relieved, shouldn’t relieve with his finesse stuff, and we really don’t need a starter until the ALCS. Britton…well, I have previously written about him. The best bet is for Villone to make it, as he is a lefty, anyway.
George Steinbrenner on multiple topics:
On Joe Torre: “His job is on the line. I think we’re paying him a lot of money. He’s the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don’t think we’d take him back if we don’t win this series.”
On A-Rod: “I think we’ll re-sign him. I think he’s going to have a good run the rest of the (postseason). I think he realizes New York is the place to be, the place to play. A lot of this (postseason) is laying on his shoulders, you know, but I think he’s up to it.”
On his health: “I’m doing all right. I’m fine.” (Courtesy of Peter Abraham)
94-68, 1st in Wild Card September 30, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Bronson Sardhina, Chris Britton, Edwar Ramirez, Joe Torre, Jose Veras, Kyle Farnsworth, Ross Ohlendorf.
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The Yankees have won the last two nights, 11-10 and 10-4, respectively, to get 94 wins and end the hunt for a playoff roster. Ross Ohlendorf, despite allowing a run and two hits in 1.1 innings, probably sealed his playoff roster spot. Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, and Chris Britton probably have to duke it out for the last one. With Britton’s outing today, he probably has eliminated Ramirez. Veras, who has two mop-up saves, did moderately well in both of those appearances, but Britton, his loss nonwithstanding, has done a better job. I hope Britton gets the nod, but, as I have pointed out before, Joe Torre rides out AAAA relievers as long as they can (i.e. C.J. Nitkowski, Sean Henn, need I go further?). My feeling from these last four days is that, like it or not, Veras will make the roster but stink up the joint in the playoffs.
Now, there is another interesting alternative here. Kyle Farnsworth may have tweaked his groin on a pitch in the ninth inning. He seems to always be nicked up, and that, along with his crappy attitude and bad pitching, may keep him from making the postseason roster. Big deal? Well, maybe bigger than you think. I will take a chance here, and risk being disowned by you in the blogging community. Here it is: 7th inning, 5-0 against a staggering Cleveland offense being dominated by [insert Game 3 starter here], and the Yankees are facing Jake Westbrook. Farnsworth’s pitched in the playoffs already. Would you trust him there instead of Chris Britton? Yes. Britton, a strikeout pitcher in the minors this season, has only struck out 3 in 6.2 innings (covering a span of a month, or 7 games. Bad enough that he pitches less than an inning a game without being a specialist, but he also has 6.00 ERA over that span. Moreover, most of those runs come in mop-up situations, the only situation he or Farnsworth would be used for. Before I give more stats, I will state here that a blowout, in this case, specifies a loss of three runs or more when more than 8 runs have been scored by the other team. Mean while, dating back to July, Farnsworth has a 4.50 era in 10 innings while pitching in a blowout. Would I still take Britton? YES, because Britton has pitched well in tight ball games. But Farnsworth makes $6.67 mil, and Torre has something against Britton anyway…
The other note
- Bronson Sardihna has all but locked up a playoff spot with a great performance since his cameo.
Yankees Eliminated from East, ALPicture Set September 29, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alex Rodriguez, Baltimore Orioles, Edwar Ramirez, Jay Payton, Johnny Damon, Jose Veras, Mariano Rivera, Mets, Phillies, Ron Villone, Ross Ohlendorf, Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
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The Yankees won 2 of 3 from Tampa Bay, but lost a very winnable game yesterday to the Baltimore Orioles. Mo Rivera (him?) allowed a triple to Jay Payton (his second of the night) to tie what was once a 9-6 lead. Then Edwar Ramirez all but completed his pitching himself off a playoff roster, as Ross Ohlendorf is picking up on him and Jose Veras, despite Veras getting the save on Wednesday (I called it first, here at YLF!). His spot on the 40-man eligibility for the postseason will substitute Carl Pavano, although Pavano would still get a ring if the Yankees get so far.
In other news:
- Ron Villone has all but made the postseason roster.
- A-Rod homered #54, and Johnny Damon was the first player this season to hit a ball out to Utah Street. Not a bad season for him, eh?
- The Mets lost last night but won today, and, looking at the Phillies right now, probably will tie it again.
- The Yankees are debating whether to take 5 bench players or 7 relievers. The seven would probably include various options of Britton, Veras, and Igawa, while the fifth bench player would likely be Alberto Gonzales (at least this one doesn’t lie!)
To let you faithful readers know in advance, on October 8th (my next off day) I will start a segment of top 10 Yankees prospects.
Split With Jays, But Won the One that Counts in Tampa September 27, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Brian Bruney, Chris Britton, Doug Mientkewicvz, Edwar Ramirez, Jason Giambi, October 2007, Ron Villone, Ross Ohlendorf.
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After a wild, wild series with Toronto (too many details to recount!!!) the Yankees went to Tampa to clinch in front of the ailing George Steinbrenner. He witnessed Jeff Karstens blow another one on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, the Yankees hammered Tampa Bay, 12-4, and have a clinched a playoff spot. Detroit has been eliminated from contention, and the American League, depending on whether Boston wins two of the next four games, is all but set.
Based on the recent bullpen implosions, I hope that the steady Ross Ohlendorf makes the roster and that Brian Bruney and Edwar Ramirez are left off, because they don’t deserve it based on performance. Ron Villone will probably make it (arrgghh), but we can’t do anything about that. Does Britton take the last spot? I hope so.
Does Jason Giambi make the roster? I hope not.
Doug Minky will start in the postseason–mark my words.
Post-Season Roster September 22, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Brian Bruney, Doug Mientkewicvz, Edwar Ramirez, Ian Kennedy, Jason Giambi, Jose Veras, Mike Mussina, Phil Hughes, Postseason, Ron Villone, Shelley Duncan, Wilson Betemit.
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Joe Torre has some interesting choices for his postseason roster. Mike Mussina has dominated his last two outings, but they have been against lesser teams that won’t be seen in the postseason. Ian Kennedy has dominated as well, but that was against Tampa Bay (decent lineup, really), Kansas City, and Toronto. Phil Hughes has had a resurgence of late as well, and he is in the mix.
Relievers: At this point, the remaining reliever spots will be two of Jose Veras, Ron Villone, Brian Bruney, and Edwar Ramirez. My gut tells me Veras is the only guarantee here, because he has impressed Torre a lot in September and is one of those no-namers that Torre rides out as long as he can (Tanyon Sturtze, Jeff Karstens, anyone?). The other three have serious flaws, so it will probably be the second-place finisher between that of Hughes, Mussina, and Kennedy. Kennedy, a finesse guy, probably won’t make the roster unless he is a starter, leaving Hughes and Mussina. Joe Torre always like experience, so I’ll say Mussina starts game 4 and Hughes is the long man. If you wonder why I don’t mention Chris Britton, it’s because he hasn’t exactly dominated outside of his 3 innings of long relief back in May, and Torre and Brian Cashman have held him back so much this season I don’t think he really has a shot.
Bench: There is one juicy debate here. The main point is which three of Jason Giambi, Doug Mientkewicvz (did I spell that right?), Shelley Duncan, or Wilson Betemit make the postseason. Without Betemit, the Yankees have no utility infielder, so I’ll assume he makes it despite his BA since coming to NY. Besides, he was the return for the best non-Mo Rivera reliver they had at the time, Scott Proctor, and Brian Cashman & Joe won’t give up on him that quickly. In the postseason, with groundball pitchers like Wang and Pettitte, fielding is important, so I’ll pick Doug Minky for this one. Last, we have two slumping DH/1B types, Shelley Duncan and Jason Giambi. Giambi is the veteran, but he has done much lately. On the other hand, neither has Duncan, but he has been around the postseason as a kid with his dad Dave Duncan and Tony LaRussa with the A’s (coincidentally, with Giambi). However, Duncan plays hard and can also play the corner OF spots, and he is a RH hitter, so I will pick Duncan to make it over Giambi.
This means that the Yankees have four bench players (13 batters) and 12 pitchers. In the postseason, idyllically one would have 13 pitchers and 12 batters, so maybe if one of Villone, Ramirez, or Bruney outshine Giambi/Duncan in the last few days, a pitcher could be taken. However, Ramirez gave up a home run to Alex Rios yesterday in the 8th inning, severely hurting his chances for a roster berth.
Yankees Sweep Baltimore, then Lose Heartbreaker in 14 September 22, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Andy Pettitte, Baltimore Orioles, Brian Bruney, Chien-Ming Wang, Edwar Ramirez, Greg Zaun, Hideki Matsui, Jason Frasor, Joe Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, Mike Mussina, Phil Hughes, Roy Halladay.
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The Yankees swept Baltimore between Monday and Wednesday, receiving great pitching from Phil Hughes, Mike Mussina, and Andy Pettitte. The offense clicked in the first two games before Brian Burres shut down the Yankees again despite losing. Hideki Matsui seems to have climbed out of his funk, while Melky Cabrera continues to sink into his. A-Rod set his career-high in RBI’s last night, but before his 2-6 yesterday he was slumping as well.
Yesterday, Chien-Ming Wang gave up 6 H and 2 runs (1 earned) in 7 innings, K’ing 4 and walking 1. Edwar Ramirez relieved him only to give up another home run. However, no offense through the first 8 innings had Roy Halladay, Toronto’s ace, pitching in the 9th inning with a 4-run lead. With an error by Aaron Hill, the Yankees then crept up and tied it in the 9th, before sending it to extras.
The Yankees only managed a hit and a walk against the 5 Toronto pitchers, and while the Yankee pitchers were on a similar pace, Brian Bruney, gave up a homer to Greg Zaun (sad, ain’t it?) and then Joe Kennedy (not, not JFK’s daddy) and Jason Frasor shut them down. Horrible loss
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The Yankees lost a long, bad game to Boston, 10-1, effectively ending their division hopes as it reminded them that there are some bullpen members who continue to struggle.
In the 7th inning, when the Yankees let up 4 runs to break open what was a 5-1 game, this was the line of the pitchers that inning (not including their performances in previous innings):
Edwar Ramirez 0.1 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Ron Villone 0.0 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
Brian Bruney 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Sean Henn 0.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
Ross Ohlendorf 0.1 IP 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K
(Courtesy of ESPN.com)
According to the FOX telecast, the Yankees threw 45 pitches in a 25 innings. Sad, isn’t it, that the Yankees continue with AAAA arms like Henn and Villone. Bruney can be fixed, I think, but Sean Henn, in 33.2 IP, has allowed 43 H and 26 BB, a WHIP of 2.05. A WHIP of 1.50 isn’t great, forget a WHIP that high. In August and September, in 8 G and 9.1 IP, he has allowed 21 H, 18 R (16 ER), 2 HR, 10 BB, and 9 K’s. He should be DFA’ed for a better pitcher (T.J. Beam? Darrell Rasner?). However, the most telling stat is that he has thrown 214 pitches, laboring a lot through his innings.
The bright spot was Derek Jeter’s homer to center, a good sign his knee is getting better. There were some flashes of rivalry, as Kevin Youkilis was hit in his wrist (day-to-day with a contusion) and Jason Giambi was hit in his elbow. Moreover, Eric Hinske totally barreled into Jorge Posada…at least he was out.
Another brightspot, though, was Ross Ohlendorf. All his 4 outs were on K’s, and he should a live fastball and sinker. I think he did a nice job, sans the homer to Hinske, and he should be a good arm to come out of the bullpen.
Overall not a very good game, and they must hope Roger Clemens goes 6 innings today because the bullpen has been taxed.
Yankees Lose to Tampa, Seattle September 3, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Austin Jackson, Chris Britton, Edwar Ramirez, GCL Yankees, Ichiro, Kyle Farnsworth, Marcos Vechionacci, Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens, Trenton Thunder.
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Andy Pettitte had a nice outing until the seventh, where he served up a fat one to Carlos Pena and he homered as the Yankees lost, 8-2. Melky Cabrera singled in a run and Bobby Abreu tripled in Johnny Damon for the only Yankee runs. On the flip side, Edwar Ramirez pitched, and gave up homers to Josh Wilson and Akinori Iwamura. His fastball is decent and changeup are nice, but he needs to add another pitch–maybe a slider or curveball. Maybe Mo can teach his successor the cutter.
Today, I went to the game, and Rocket was just terrible. His command was spotty, and he served up 8 hits in 4 innings, as well as a homer to Ichiro. His fastball was back down to 89-90, bottoming out at 87 and topping out at 91. His pitches didn’t have much break, but he threw a nice 86 mph splitter to strike out Kenji Johjima in the second.
Mike Mussina relieved–not sure how 7 hits in 3.2 innings can be relief in my heart, but…he gave up 2 runs and 3 doubles before being pulled for Chris Britton. Kyle Farnsworth-less pitched an inning of electric stuff, K’ing 2.
A-Rod singled in a run in the first, and also burned Ichiro trying to stretch a single to a double…after that, it was all Mariners.
Vechionnaci Promoted As I pointed out on August 16th, I speculated that Marcos Vechionnaci, the slick-fielding Yankee shortstop would be promoted to AA due to his advanced fielding and hot hitting. A couple of days ago, he was promoted for the stretch run for AA, which I am glad to see.
Jackson Promoted The Yankees’ beast prospect was promoted to AAA for the stretch run. I’m anxious to see what he does there, because he can begin next year AA and ascend to MLB, almost like Joba and IPK did this year.
Rookie Yanks are GCL Champions The GCL Yankees beat the GCL Dodgers to win the Gulf Coast League Championship. Kudos to them and to Jesus Montero, who seems to have fully recovered from his ankle injury and hit his 4th homer.
Yankees Lose Tough one in Anaheim August 21, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alex Rodriguez, Edwar Ramirez, Gary Matthews Jr., Joba Rules, Joe Torre, LA Angels, Mike Mussina, Phil Hughes, Sean Henn.
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A-Rod was the first to 40 HR’s, but Joe Torre couldn’t make the most of his short-handed bullpen as the Yankees come back but lose in 10, as Torre, for some reason, didn’t let Mo pitch two innings and give the Yanks a chance to win in the 11th.
Phil Hughes didn’t pitch as bad as the numbers look, as the first three runs were set up by a misplay by Robinson Cano that turned into a double on a groundball up the middle by Gary Matthews Jr. Then, when he left, Luis Vizcaino allowed the two runners he inherited plus one more.
Then, tomorrow, if you get 6 from Mussina, Edwar pitches an innings and Joba pitches the 8th and 9th for the save. But no, he has to use the only sure thing in that bullpen (Viz blew it and Farns was in trouble) for only 1 inning and use Sean Henn for the 10th? I mean, he’s more effective than Ron Villone, but the bullpen is better tomorrow if you can avoid using him in a sudden death situation.
Just bad bullpen management–the reason the Joba Rules were created.