Thoughts: Injuries August 8, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Hideki Matsui, Injuries, Joba Chamberlain, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada.
add a comment
Over a span of a few weeks, Hideki Matusi, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada, and Joba Chamberlain went down, hampering the Yankees’ postseason efforts. Matsui’s issues are now with his right knee, as opposed to his left. He had it drained out after feeling pain it, before just not being able to play because of it. While Matsui has been a solid offensive contributor to the Yankees, his home runs and slugging are way down while is average is way up. He has shown to no longer be durable, and his bat can’t be counted on for a 162-game season. I think it’s best to trade him in the off-season for a solid package, considering he’ll have only 1 more year on his contract but will likely sneak into the Type A free agent group.
Johnny Damon’s injury was a short-term stint but has a long-term effect. His shoulder pain, he says, will likely persist with him throughout the season, which might not hamper his bat but it will restrain his limited power at this point. Moreover it will force manager Joe Girardi to rest him more often, forcing noodle bat Melky Cabrera into the lineup. It shouldn’t matter for next season, but the Yankees need him for them to make the playoffs.
Jorge Posada missing the remainder of the season was, in my mind, inevitable with the type of injury he had. It restrained his power and throwing strength, and his play was lacking as a result. I don’t think the Yankees were counting on him much at all from Day 2 (remember he injured it on the first day of the season), so it isn’t much of a loss, per se. His current level of production is now replaced and surpassed with Pudge. However, if this is still an issue next year and beyond, the Yankees will severely regret his 4-year contract, as, at that point, he would be unmovebale.
What hurts more than any of these losses is that of Joba Chamberlain. Jobamania has been insanely nasty, particularly since moving to the rotation, and he was a fixture and the #2 starter on the team. It’s supposedly only rotator cuff tendinitis, caused largely by the insane heat in Texas that night (NOT HIS MOVE TO THE ROTATION!). He should be back by September 1, though with the Yankees’ ultraconservativeness we might not see him again this season. I do not think this a long-term problem.
Chamberlain Good Enough to Win June 16, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Game Recaps, Houston Astros, Joba Chamberlain, Jose Veras.
add a comment
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.
Dramatic Endings Are Nice, But Questions Remain June 7, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, Dave Eiland, Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes.
add a comment
In two of the last three, the Yankee game has ended with a walk-off hit of some sort. On Thursday, it was a monster Jason Giambi homerun 15 rows back in the upper deck, and today it was a Johnny Damon double down the line to beat the Royals. Giambi’s homer came on a day that was almost lost and ruined by Chien-Ming Wang, who continues his struggles, and Damon’s 6-6 day (tying an American League record for most hits in a 9 inning game–truly amazing!) and his last double made everything right for the Yankees, who bunted Derek Jeter in the first inning (why???) and Andy Pettitte. Pettitte’s struggles continue, as he gave up 10ER and two HRs after surrendering three leads in his last start in Minnesota.
Wang and Pettitte are the anchors of this rotation. They both have enough stuff to get it done, Wang of course moreso than Pettitte. Wang’s GAS (glove side shoulder), according to pitching coach Dave Eiland and catcher Jorge Posada, has started to fly open, preventing his trademark sinker from sinking, and inhibiting proper command. Pettitte has lost about 2MPH from his fastball, now being 87-89 instead of 88-92 like last year. That prevents proper separation from his cutter, which checks in at 84-87, more often on the higher side than the lower side on that range. That can be explained by age and throwing the cutter so much, as throwing the cutter can cause reduction in velocity earlier than usual. In addition, he also looses command of his cutter at times, preventing him from establishing it and thus his other pitches. However, he doesn’t use his other pitches enough at times. He can go too cutter-heavy and then hitters know what to look for, so they just sit on it. He needs to use his curveball and changeup more, and stop being quite so desperate.
This raises the question of the effectiveness of Eiland. This year was supposed to be a transition year, with the offense a year older and Mike Mussina supposed to be somewhere between his stellar 2006 and shaky 2007. Chien-Ming was supposed to win 19 games (again) and Andy Pettitte was supposed to solidly hold the fort for the younger players. Phil Hughes was supposed to take a step forward from his 2007 debut, and Ian Kennedy, while not expected to put up numbers like he did in the minors and September of 2007, was supposed to be a reliable #4/#5 starter.
Almost none of it has happened consistently. Mussina has been great and leads the AL in wins with his slow, slower, slowest approach (Jamie Moyer, anyone?). Hughes and Kennedy are on the DL right now, and both were lit up for almost the whole season (though Kennedy was improving before his DL stint). Wang started well before flopping since the beginning of May, and Pettitte has been looking bad since the Mets series. Even Joba, who has done great, has walked almost 4.5 per 9. Eiland was supposed to be great, as he worked with the Big 3 in Scranton. However, retrospectively speaking, the three weren’t together for more than a month. Hughes was in Scranton for the first three weeks of the season before getting promoted, and was already an uber-prospect. He then returned for two rehab starts in July. Kennedy spent half of August and September there, while Chamberlain was there for a week. So his impact on the trio can’t be that big. Eiland, a former pitcher himself, seems like a nice guy, but in my book he’s on a short leash. I’d like to give him until Independence Day to see what happens. Wang and Pettitte should straighten themselves out by then, Kennedy should be back, and we’ll see how keeps Mussina keeps on doing. By then J.B. Cox and/or David Robertson is certain to be in the bigs, and we’ll see how that goes.
Joba’s Fistpump May 17, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Joba Chamberlain.
add a comment
Ever since Joba Chamberlain pumped his fist after striking out David Dellucci two days after (somehow) serving up to him a home run, the media has been in a frenzy over whether it is appropriate. Personally, I don’t have a problem and I would actually encourage him to keep on doing it.
The fistpump is obviously a show of emotion. Joba is even-keeled at certain times, but baseball is really important to him and by all accounts he is an emotional kid. Dennis Eckersely did it, and no one seemed to care much. No one makes a big deal when Barry Bonds or Manny Ramirez stare down the pitcher after hitting a towering home run. What’s the deal with hatin’ on Joba?
Mailbag #2 January 27, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 30-rule for Pitchers, Alan Horne, Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, Ian Kennedy, Jeff Marquez, Joba Chamberlain, Mike Mussina, Phil Hughes, Robinson Cano.
add a comment
Presenting…our second mailbag.
What will the Yankees do with the six major league starters they have on the roster? Does Kennedy get demoted? Or do they skip starts with Chamberlain and Hughes using Kennedy to fill in?–Eric
No one has a definitive answer on that one yet. I think they could extend Hughes to about 160 innings, considering he threw ~146 in 2006 and ~110 this year. Ian Kennedy will be able to throw ~195 innings after throwing ~165 this year. Joba Chamberlain, who threw 112 innings this year, won’t go more than about 140 innings this year. Assuming a healthy starter throws 200 innings a year, and Andy Pettitte and Chien Ming-Wang match their innings total from last year, that leaves 147 innings to be accounted for. This number increases if you account for Joba Chamberlain either starting or finishing the year in the bullpen–let’s say he pitches 100 in the rotation and 40 in the bullpen. That now leaves us with 187 innings to fill. Mike Mussina doesn’t have the stuff, endurance, or adaptability to pitch that much, so let’s say he pitches 140 innings. That now leaves us with 47 innings. Jeff Marquez and Alan Horne will probably be major-league ready by October, and either could pitch in the bullpen in 2008 to start or end the year, and their innings cap will be around 180-185, so either one could step in. So, if you really think about it, you would need seven pitchers to get through the year–meaning Mike Mussina needs to come through.
Maybe you could show some of the commenter’s why the 30 rule is new wave. Look up just a few of them;
W. Ford 112 r, 207, 210, 230 ave.
B. Turley 7.3r, 60.3, 247.3, 212 ave.
M. Stottlemyer, 96.0r, 291.0, 252.7 ave.
F. Peterson, 215.0r, 181.3, 220 ave.
Pettitte, 175.0r, 221.0, 215.7 ave.
Moose, 87.7r, 241.0, 227 ave.
Now, I understand there is much more money involved with pitchers. If the other guys could do it, why can’t the big 3? I realize that one would have to evaluate each pitcher on the merits of pushing them (just a little bit) longer.–Old Ranger
The 30-rule is in place because studies on pitchers have proven that increasing a pitcher’s woarkload by my more than 30 innings a year gives him a significantly higher injury risk for the following season. Throwing a baseball isn’t a natural motion–throwing underhand is. Since most pitchers pitch over-the-top, there is increased stress on the shoulder and elbows when pitching, so it must be controlled. Otherwise, again, there will be injury.
Will Cano be keeping his number, 24? or switching back to 22?–Aubrey
Probably 24–I see no reason to change numbers.
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.
add a comment
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.
BA Yankees Top 10 Prospects January 12, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alan Horne, Andrew Brackman, Austin Jackson, Baseball America Top 10 Prospects, Brett Gardner, Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Top 30 Prospects.
This is the Baseball America Yankees Top 10 Prospects list that came out on Monday:
1. Joba Chamberlain, rhp
2. Austin Jackson, of
3. Jose Tabata, of
4. Ian Kennedy, rhp
5. Alan Horne, rhp
6. Jesus Montero, c
7. Jeff Marquez, rhp
8. Brett Gardner, of
9. Ross Ohlendorf, rhp
10. Andrew Brackman, rhp
The list, in general, is only OK. The first five, I must say, are identical to our list. Montero at #6 is a bit high, but nothing really to complain about. Seven through nine, are a problem. John Manuel, managing the Yankees’ prospect list, says in the chat that he puts Marquez this high because Marquez is a pretty sure bet to be a #4/#5 in the Majors, particularly because of his sinker. I don’t buy it. Marquez has a great changeup and sinker, but he doesn’t get enough strikeouts (~5.5) to justify his inconsistent groundball rate, either. Gardner is a fourth outfielder/fringe starter, but Manuel reasons his spot because Gardner is very close to being major-league ready. Ohlendorf, another surprise at #9, maxes out as a solid 7th inning reliever, but Manuel says that Ohlendorf’s pitches each went up a grade since his move to the bullpen. These three reasonings are petty and radical, in my view.
Brackman at #10 is fine (we had him at #11).
However, I have one big problem with the list. There is no Dellin Betances to be found in the Top 10. Granted, while his #3 ranking last year could have been a hype machine result, it was widely known that many of Betances’s mechanical issues (as well as his stuff) was greatly improved after his drafting and being sent to Extended Spring Training. However, in the chat, Manuel states that after talking to people in the know, and watching him pitch, that there are still some concerns about mechanics and his rawness. But isn’t he a better prospect than the #7-10 players???
BA also presents the best tools list:
Best Hitter for Average Jose Tabata
Best Power Hitter Jesus Montero
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Brett Gardner
Fastest Baserunner Brett Gardner
Best Athlete Austin Jackson
Best Fastball Joba Chamberlain
Best Curveball Joba Chamberlain
Best Slider Joba Chamberlain
Best Changeup Edwar Ramirez
Best Control Ian Kennedy
Best Defensive Catcher Francisco Cervelli
Best Defensive Infielder Alberto Gonzalez
Best Infield Arm Marcos Vechionacci
Best Defensive Outfielder Austin Jackson
Best Outfield Arm Seth Fortenberry
I think this is a pretty good list. It differs drastically from the 2007 tools list. As can be seen (and expected), Joba dominates the pitching ranks. Austin Jackson’s improvement is also greatly improved.
The tools list makes up for the faltering of the rankings, making this a solid job by BA. I can’t wait until the book comes out to see what BA has to say on the Top 30 prospects (and who they are, of course).
Random Ramblings: Joba, A-Rod, Mussina, Matsui December 11, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, Joba Chamberlain, Mike Mussina.
Imagine a world where Jason Frasor didn’t exist. That’s right, Jason Frasor. Now, not many people know who he is, but that’s OK for the purpose of this excersise.
So now picture Joba Chamberlain…
The whole point is, if Jason Frasor didn’t exist, Joba would have qualified for Type B free agency this year. Very impressive for a rookie reliever who only played in August/September. Now, of course, Joba has almost six full years ahead of him for free agency, but that is just a thought on how good this kid really is, how he has a higher score than players who have been around for ages in a ranking that involves the last two years.
A-ROD DEAL NOT YET FINALIZED The A-Rod deal hasn’t been finalized. It will be a month in four days that the
“preliminary agreement” was announced. And how long will it take for Carl Pavano to be released?
MUSSINA INTERESTS THE PHILLIES YES! We found a match here at YLF! Per MLBTR the Phillies have “mild” interest in Mussina. Again, while the Phillies are close to home for the 39-year-old pitcher, the bandbox nature of the park might turn him off. However, he would get to be a #3/#4 in that rotation (that really says something…)
MATSUI TALKS HEATING UP I wonder who the Yankees might get in return. We’ve heard Jonathan Sanchez and Noah Lowry as possibilities, but that’s just not enough for a player like Matsui. I was thinking more of Matsui + prospect for Matt Cain, the sinkerballing righty who gets good strikeouts for a pticher of his type. He has ace stuff, but will never won’t win in San Francisco with that offense without Barry Bonds. Besides, in terms of ceiling/potential/stuff, the Giants may prefer to keep Lincecum, as any deal that they need to improve the team must involve one of these two young righties.
Top 30 Prospects: #1 Joba Chamberlain November 23, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Joba Chamberlain, Top 30 Prospects.
Drafted: Supplemental 1st Round, 2006, out of U. of Nebraska
Position: Starting Pitcher
Stuff: Chamberlain has some of the most wicked stuff in the system, second only to maybe Dellin Betances. He flashes a plus with a little movement 93-102 MPH fastball, a devastating, wicked, plus plus slider that goes 87-90 MPH, an above-average curveball, and an average and developing changeup.
Control/Performance: Chamberlain has really harnessed his stuff and now has plus control and above-average command. His command is developing, but he is doesn’t need it that much since he throws the hardest stuff on the planet. Chamberlain, like Kennedy, ascended through 4 levels of the minors this season in less time than Kennedy. Chamberlain was great at all four levels, and even became the Yankees’ best set-up man down the stretch. In the minors, he went 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA, and, in 88.1 IP, he allowed 62 H and 27 BB. He also struck out 135. In the bigs, he pitched 24 innings, he went 2-0 with a .38 ERA and allowed only 12 H and 6 BB while striking out 34. His peripherals are good and should continue to develop.
Outlook: Chamberlain has ace potential, and his stuff is largely there. He needs more experience, and should be the Yankees’ #3 starter next year. If Mariano Rivera hadn’t re-signed, he likely would have been the closer. Chamberlain needs more polish on his secondary breaking pitches, but, again, that comes with experience. He will be very good for years to come; however, his weight also provides a little concern, doesn’t it?
Ceiling: A/A+, Health: B+/A-, Comparison: C.C. Sabathia
Hank Steinbrenner: Joba to be a Starter in ’08 October 14, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Hank Steinbrenner, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes.
add a comment
Hank Steinbrenner, George’s son and Senior Vice President, declared that Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes will start spring training out as starters. That leaves the door open for them to become relievers, though I doubt Hughes will ever be a reliever. Joba would likely close in the event Mariano Rivera leaves, which I think is unlikely.
I totally agree with this. Joba has nasty, nasty stuff and his abilities would be wasted with only 60-70 innings of him as opposed to 180-200 innings of him a year.
No word on Torre yet.