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.
Injury Updates June 11, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in J. Brent Cox, Phil Hughes.
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Yesterday, on his blog, Phil Hughes declared that he is pain-free and has been for about a week. He still has to wait until x-ray results come back negative so he is cleared to pitch. He’s also received his new glasses to help on the mound. Either way, this is great news, and hopefully he can be back by August and be dominant.
On the other side of things, according to the indispensable Chad Jennings, J.B. Cox has been placed on the 7-day DL. I believe that there is also a 15-day DL in the minors, so the fact that this is just 7 days is a good sign. Jennings isn’t with the team so he couldn’t ask about the injury. My guess is that this is just elbow soreness after coming back, and that he should return soon. No word on any replacements for the Scranton roster.
Melancon, Cox Promoted May 17, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in J. Brent Cox, Mark Melancon.
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RHPs Mark Melancon and J.B. Cox were promoted, from A+ Tampa to AA Trenton and Trenton to AAA Scranton, respectively. Melancon, recovering from Tommy John surgery, had a 2.84 ERA in 25.1IP, allowing 26H and 6BB while striking out 20, and posting a 1.00 GO/AO ratio. Cox, also recovering from Tommy John and already having been promoted from Tampa to Trenton, posted a 1.35 ERA in 6.2IP at Trenton, allowing 3H and 2BB while striking out 6, and also posting a 1.00 GO/AO.
These numbers look particularly good considering their respective rough starts to the season. These two prospects, going at the rate they are, should be in the majors by year’s end, and have potential as solid set-up guys in the bullpen.
Minor Notes: Cox Returns, Duncan Impresses March 20, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 Spring Training, Eric Duncan, J. Brent Cox, Kevin Reese.
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- J.B. Cox returned on the mound after missing a year with Tommy John Surgery, and threw in a minor-league game. He threw only fastballs and sliders–no changeups–and felt good. He is at Hi-A Tampa, and will advance to AAA S/W-B when the weather is appropriate.
- Eric Duncan has impressed in Minor League games. Per Chad Jennings’s box scores, he is 4-14 (.286) with a HR, 3 RBIs, 1 BB, and 4 K’s in 4 games. Not bad.
- Kevin Reese has returned to the Yankees…as as scout. Reese last played in 2007 with S/W-B, but retired after finishing the year on the DL and being released. He will now scout the Sally and Appalachian Leagues for the Yanks.
Mark Newman Reveals Plans for Top Prospects December 21, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alan Horne, Bronson Sardhina, Humberto Sanchez, J. Brent Cox, Jeff Marquez, Juan Miranda, Mark Melancon, Nick Green.
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In an interview with Yankees Senior VP of Baseball Operations Mark Newman, Chad Jennings found out where some of the Yankees top prospects will start next year. My take is in italics.
Juan Miranda: Miranda will start the season at AAA, according to Newman. He and Eric Duncan will play every day, alternating between 1B and DH. Miranda has more upside than a Shelley Duncan/Wilson Betemit/Jason Giambi tandem, and should be the starter at 1B by mid-season.
Mark Melancon and J. Brent Cox: Both relievers will be ready on Opening Day after missing 2007 with elbow surgery. Both will also start in Tampa to avoid the cold weather at AA Trenton and AAA Scranton, but will advance throughout the year. Melancon, a closer drafted in the 9th round out of U of Arizona in 2006, is a high-ceiling player who projects to be a closer. This will be a setback for Cox, as he has gone as far as AA in 2006. Hopefully, he still has the stuff and control that made people say he had the potential to be better than Huston Street.
Humberto Sanchez: Sanchez will not be ready opening day after Tommy John surgery. He has been oft-injured throughout his minor league career, and it has derailed him from realizing his potential. With Anthony Claggett a non-prospect, and Sanchez and Kevin Whelan not sure things, the Gary Sheffield trade isn’t looking so good right now.
Alan Horne and Jeff Marquez: Newman notes that both Alan Horne and Jeff Marquez could make the Yankees out of Spring Training as relievers. He says that the club could do another starter-to-late-season reliever conversion, like that of Joba Chamberlain. Horne’s stuff is good for the bullpen, but last year had a 5.04 BB/9 rate in the 1st inning of starts, so his control might not be good as it takes him time to settle in. Marquez would be the groundball machine, but the Yankees’ bullpen doesn’t strike anyone out, and they already have LaTroy Hawkins to get a lot of groundballs.
Nick Green Signed: Green agreed on a minor league contract with the Yankees. On that note, Bronson Sardhina is being pursued as well on a minor-league deal. Newman notes that many of these fringe players don’t like to sign with the Yankees because the Yankees are very set with their lineups and pitching, so they won’t get much of an opportunity. Well, Nick Green isn’t a top prospect–he’s a fringe player, really–but he’s back with the Yankees, and could make the club out of Spring Training in the utility role as opposed to Alberto Gonzales.
Top 30 Prospects: #10 J. Brent Cox November 22, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in J. Brent Cox, Top 30 Prospects.
Weight: 205 lbs
Drafted: Second Round, 2005, out of the University of Texas
Position: Relief Pitcher
Stuff: Cox pitches from a 3/4 angle, and owns a 88-92 MPH fastball. He has a plus, devastating, 85 MPH slider that is his real strikeout pitch. His changeup grades as average.
Control/Performance: Control and command are Cox’s biggest assets. Unlike other talented relievers, though, his command does not escape him in a pressure situation. In 2006, his last year before elbow surgery, he pitched 77 innings at AA Trenton, allowing 54 H and 24 BB while K’ing 60.
Outlook: Cox has the potential to be a nice major league closer, or a quality set-up man. That is a big need for the Yankees, and should be ready for the 2008 season. He is major-league ready, and can be in the majors as soon as mid to late May. There is a chance he breaks camp with the Yankees, though.
Ceiling: B/B+, Health: B-, Comparison: Scot Shields
Yankees Eliminated, Torre’s Future in Doubt October 14, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Austin Jackson, Brett Gardner, Chien-Ming Wang, Eric Duncan, Humberto Sanchez, Ian Kennedy, J. Brent Cox, Joba Chamberlain, Joe Torre, Johan Santana, Jose Tabata, Postseason, Ross Ohlendorf.
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Due to the lack of updating, again, I haven’t mentioned a key event–the Yankees were eliminated. Now, this team had a couple of questions with them–Chien-Ming Wang (after the first game and based on his only other performance against Cleveland), the potential need to overuse Joba with a badly-timed slump by the Viz and the constant ineffectiveness of Farnsworth, and the revitalization of the offense after facing two Cy Young candidates. I felt that if the Yankees would have found a way to win this series, they were going all the way. Of course, they didn’t, and they are now stuck looking forward to Spring Training.
This loss doesn’t hurt as much as others, a point on which I agree on with the folks at the Bronx Block. Yes, what could have been is intriguing, but in a way, I was looking forward to see the likes of Marcos V. (can’t spell his last name), Eric Duncan, Juan Miranda, Ross Ohlendorf, and Alan Horne get their appropriate roles assigned, as well as seing Humberto Sanchez and J. Brent Cox come back from elbow surgery and win bullpen spots. There’s also David Robertson seemingly coming out of nowhere. Then there’s Jose Tabata, AJax, and Brett Gardner getting to big league camp and going off to their appropriate levels (that is, Tabata-AA, AJax–AA, Gardner–AAA/MLB). And, most obviously, I look forward to Mike Mussina being gone, Chien-Ming Wang packaged with Jeff Marquez or someone else for Johan Santan (just dreaming…), and Phil Hughes, Joba, and IPK winning rotation spots. Yankee fans, whether this loss is disheartening or not, there is a very bright future ahead of us.
Joe Torre’s future is also in doubt. If he leaves, I am ambivalent, because as nice a guy he is with great people skills, he’s 67 and won’t manage forever. That said, I am not thrilled with the Phil Garners or, until yesterday, Dusty Bakers of the world. Tony LaRussa, as a scout told the Daily News the other day, is not a long-term solution with horrible people skills. Don Mattingly probably needs another year or two as bench coach to be ready to manage, and Joe Girardi’s problems with Florida ownership scare me. The best bet is Torre for two years.
Notable Yankees Pitching Prospects July 26, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Christian Garcia, Dellin Betances, Edwar Ramirez, Humberto Sanchez, Ian Kennedy, J. Brent Cox, Joba Chamberlain, Kevin Whelan, Phil Hughes, Ross Ohlendorf, Tim Norton.
Below are some of the Yankees’ notable pitching prospects, with my grade for them so far this year, as well as John Sickel’s grade for them at the start of the season.
Phil Hughes, RHP, Grade A+ [A] Most bona-fide prospect in system–outstanding control and command, throws hard, best curveball according to BA in the Yankee system, and the case can be made that he is the best pitching prospect in baseball.
Joba Chamberlain, RHP, A+ [B]–May have a higher ceiling than Hughes, according to some Yankee insiders. Throws very hard (94-97 MPH), great control, good command, nasty stuff, but must maintain good weight to achieve success.
Ian Kennedy, RHP, A- [B-] At least a back-of-rotation control artist, peaks at a Mike Mussina-type pitcher. They share the same velocity and stretch motion.
Humberto Sanchez, RHP, B [B+] Had TJ surgery–had great stuff before, and we’ll see after. With so many starters, will be a Scott Proctor-type next year if he makes big club
Dellin Betances, RHP, B [B], Despite elbow problems in Staten Island, is a flamethrower that has great stuff and a great breaking ball–if he didn’t have an injury, could be B+ prospect–could be too early to tell
J. Brent Cox, RHP, B- [B] Had TJ surgery–tops out at around 91, good stuff before surgery, and could be, like Sanchez or Whelan, the closer of the future
Edwar Ramirez, RHP, B- [NR] Was an Angels’ system castoff, but has posted most impressive numbers throughout his minor league career. Great in his first outing, but regressed a little bit with the big club due to incosistent usage. Outstanding “bugs bunny” changeup.
George Kontos, RHP, B- [NR] Great arm, had best start of all Yankee draft picks last year, and is doing pretty decent job for Tampa this year. Had bad college career, though.
Tim Norton, RHP, B- [NR] Currently disabled, but is having a somewhat better season in A than Kontos is in High A, but is somewhat of a question able arm that has the potential to be an organizational player
Kevin Whelan, RHP, C+ [B-] Was converted to a starter for Tampa but has only started one of 19 games for Trenton. Still adjusting to Trenton, but is, as mentioned, a potential closer of the future
Ross Ohlendorf, RHP, B- [NR] Best projects, by scouts, as a set-up man. Throws decently hard, and came into his own in the Arizona system in 2006. However, in AAA S/WB, he has regressed, and is still being used as a starter.
Christian Garcia, RHP, C+ [B-] Out all of 2007 so far, surgery–had the best curveball in the Yankee system until Philip Hughes developed his in 2006, according to BA, and ranked 6th of Yankees prospects, also according to BA
Tyler Clippard, RHP, C+ [B] Was one of the best Yankee prospects this year, but will probably fall to the end or out of that category by the end of the year. Was stellar in first MLB outing, but it was inconsistent afterwards. Was demoted to AA with Chase Wright to make room for higher-touted prospects Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy very recently.
Jeff Marquez, RHP, C+ [C+] More than a hit per inning, and the changeup artist’s declining K rate is rapidly lowering his stock and potential. Not always overpowering (88-91 MPH mostly) despite being able to reach 94 MPH. May not be much more than a Jeff Karstens, or he can even be an organizational player
Zach McAllister, RHP, C+ Was reliever for GCL Yankees last year, but as a starter for Tampa is doing a good job. A little early to tell, as he was just drafted in ’06.
T.J. Beam, RHP, C [C] Had a chance to make it in the big club twice last season, but failed to make use of his opportunity, sporting a 8.50 ERA in 20G, although that includes 22-0 loss in Cleveland. He did an outstanding job last year for Trenton and Columbus last year, and is doing good work this year for AAA and on his rehab assignment from the DL. Was looked as a hard-throwing version of J. Brent Cox, but at 26, he might not be more than a September call-up.
Angel Reyes, LHP, C [C] Only notable lefty the Yankees are developing. Hasn’t started consistently in this year. Did a good job for Class A Charleston, but was demoted for some reason to short-season Staten Island and the wheels fell off. Only 20 yrs old, so he still has time.
Chase Wright, LHP, C- [C+] Like DeSalvo and Clippard, were stellar in first outings before wheels fell off. Doesn’t overpower, and at 26, needs to turn his lack of success in the past–as well as his recent demotion to AA–into success to ever see the big leagues again.
Stephen Jackson, RHP, D+ [C+] Has struggled mightily in AAA and Trenton, and has pitched only once in Trenton. Is a fifth starter/long reliever type, as evidenced by his G : GS ratio.