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Looks Like This Is The End… November 2, 2008

Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Uncategorized.
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Hey all,

As you’ve noticed, I haven’t written on the site for over a month now. I haven’t been able to update it as I’ve liked, even with the constraints I wanted to set for myself

But this is also about something else. I don’t have a desire to write about the Yankees any more. I’m instead writing about politics. For those of you interested, you can follow my work at Liberal Musings, a political blog from a liberal point of view.

I may decide to eventually come back tot his. But for now, Yankees: Looking for the Future is being set aside. It was great while it lasted.

Thanks to all who have read, from start to finish. This wasn’t an easy decision but one I felt had to be made.

So long,

Pablo Zevallos

Game Thread (156): The Final Game at Yankee Stadium September 21, 2008

Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Game Thread, Last Game at Yankee Stadium, Yankee Stadium.
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After 85 years, Yankee Stadium is closing its doors. Twenty-six championships and 39 pennants later, this is it. The ceremony was amazing, with everyone from Bernie Williams to a Babe Ruth actor present. Who will win this game? Who will hit a homer, just as Babe Ruth hit one in the first game in the House that He Built? Fittingly, Big Game Andy is around to pitch the final game.

1. CF Johnny Damon
2. SS Derek Jeter
3. RF Bobby Abreu
4. 3B Alex Rodriguez
5. 1B Jason Giambi
6. LF Xavier Nady
7. 2B Robinson Cano
8. DH Hideki Matsui
9. C Jose Molina

LHP Andy Pettitte

A Note on Future Blogging September 14, 2008

Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Housekeeping Notes, Yankees: Looking to the Future.
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I’ve never been a consistent poster unless it’s been a holiday time. Of course, school is a priority over the blog, severely limiting opportunities during the week. Thus, I ask you not to expect me to blog much during the week. Instead, I’ll do my blogging on Friday nights or the weekend in general if I get a chance. Thanks for your understanding.

On other things, I will once again do a Top 30 Prospects segment, but I’m not sure if it will be with the same quickness that I did last year (I did have a broken bone in my foot then, after all). It will be done after the Hawaii and Arizona Leagues, though. Moreover, more immediately, after the end of the season, I will do an offseason outlook section on the Yankees–it will include next year’s committments, their own free agents, options, and players from the outside to look at.

That concludes the blogging for tonight. Thanks for reading.

Jeter’s Legendary Quest September 14, 2008

Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Derek Jeter, Epic Fail, Epic Win.
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Derek Jeter went an unbelievable 9-11 this series to tie Lou Gehrig’s record of 1,269 hits at Yankee Stadium. His tying hit, actually, was a homer off 2007 #1 overall pick LHP David Price, and it was also with a homer that he tied Gehrig’s all-time Yankees’ hit record last Sunday in Seattle.

There are few bright spots right now for the Yankees, but Derek Jeter is making the Yankees worth watching right now in the dog days of September. What he’s doing is a testament to his great career and his almost robotic consistency. It also is a question of “What might have been?” for Gehrig, but this is a great thing for the Yankees either way.

What is terrible is that NESN ESPN is calling the last game ever at Yankee Stadium. I now have to hear Joe Morgan’s consistent stupidity (heh), Captain Obvious Jon Miller, and John Henry’s homey Peter Gammons’s extremely pro-Red Sox bias. It’s unbelievable what MLB and ESPN are subjecting us, the fans, to. I’d rather have Michael freaking Kay than these guys, because Al Leiter, Ken Singleton, David Cone, or whomever actually have a clue about what they say and are good announcers. Screw you, ESPN.

Playing for Pride, Yankees Win 2 of 3 from Rays September 14, 2008

Posted by Pablo Zevallos in September Call-Ups, Tampa Bay Rays.
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The Yankees are out of the postseason race, and there’s no use playing for a draft pick when they’re 5 GB in front of the 15th slot (why would you want to do that, anyway?), so it barrels down to playing for pride. The Yankees have played hard the last two games (6-4 and 8-4 wins) after mailing it in the first game (7-1 loss). Either way, it seems like they are now looking to see what they have for 2009. Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig’s record for hits at Yankee stadium (more on that in the next post), and A-Rod had his umpteenth straight 100-RBI season. Carl Pavano left with a hip injury (what’s new?) and Mike Mussina, after losing, likely won’t win 20 games this year.

DL Updates: Joba, Giese Activated; Horne With Rotator Cuff Tear September 14, 2008

Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alan Horne, DL Stint, Transactions.
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First to the major league things. After missing nearly a month, RHP Joba Chamberlain was activated off the DL on September 1st. He is returning as a reliever, which makes no sense to me because he needs innings badly, and will likely start 2009 as a reliever due to those same innings limits. RHP Dan Giese was also activated after missing time with a similar injury, shoulder tendinitis. He is a long reliever-type, and has settled in nicely in that role.

Now to the minors. It was discovered on August 31st that RHP Alan Horne, who had struggled mightily this season, has a partial tear of the rotator cuff. Dr. Doom James Andrews examined him and determined that while it wasn’t a major tear by any means, it certainly prevented normal arm action. No timetable on a return, but I suspect he’ll miss a chunk of 2009. This certainly is a big hit on his prospect status, and, combined with his past injury issues (needing two years to recover from Tommy John surgery in college) and his age next year (26), his value has probably faded. At this point he probably won’t be more than an average middle reliever. While he had been named as a candidate for Rule 5 draft protection this offseason, I don’t see a team that would take him knowing that he has to recover and re-do AAA.

Hughes, Robertson Recalled September 14, 2008

Posted by Pablo Zevallos in David Robertson, Phil Hughes, Sidney Ponson.
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After his dominating performance, RHP Phil Hughes was recalled yesterday and will start on Wednesday against Chicago. This move was done at the right time, as Hughes, after two ghastly outings at AAA, has settled into an awesome rhythym and this was very much earned. Robertson’s struggles continued a bit, even allowing his first homerun in the minors, but made an adjustment in his mechanics and settled into a nice groove letter in the playoffs.

Hopefully Hughes replaces Sidney Ponson, who, since joining the Yankees, has posted ugly numbers–6.71 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 0.91K/BB rate. Just go! Leave! Bye!!!

Aceves Replaces Rasner in Rotation September 14, 2008

Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Al Aceves, Darell Rasner.
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Against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Tuesday, Al Aceves made his debut as a starter. He continued his dominance since being promoted, pitching 7 innings, allowing five hits, no walks, and one earned run while striking out two. He also posted a 11:8 GB:FB ratio. I could nitpick on the strikeouts, but it’s his starting debut in his hometown and it’s a limited sample size. You’ll hear me gripe by the time of the third start if that continues.

Aceves flashed a 89-92 fastball, a big curve that could get loopy at about 73-75, and a changeup at 79-80. It seems like he throws a little cutter at 86 as well. His stuff is somewhat similar to Darrell Rasner’s, the man he replaced, but he has a better fastball and has a clue about the importance of command. There’s not much in the way of projectability or upside, and he did struggle to adjust from AA (where he played and of which the Mexican League, where’s played for the past couple of seasons, is the rough equivalent) to AAA. I see him as a fringe 4th/good 5th starter, but not a particular keeper but any means.

After a nice start to the season, Darrell Rasner has been terrible. He has posted a 6.07 ERA, 1.67 K:BB rate, and a ghastly 1.67 WHIP since June. This move was long overdue.

Minor League Playoffs Abstract September 14, 2008

Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Jhonny Nunez, Justin Christian, Minor League Playoffs, Phil Hughes.

The Minor League Playoffs are over. Now time to briefly recap the Yankee affiliates’ fortunes in September (all awards are post-season only):

AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre won the Governor’s Cup, which means they are the best of the International League. They beat the stacked Durham Bulls (David Price, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, anyone?) 20-2 in the finale and 3-1 in the series overall.

MVP: OF Justin Christian. There’s not much to choose from, but he orchestrated the comeback after Niemann’s dominating performance and also was instrumental to start the beating in the final game (3-7, 3 RBI).

Best Pitcher: Phil Hughes. Is there much of a competition. I think 25 Ks in his 13 IP (one run) would do that for you. ‘Nuff said.

Scranton will now face AAA Sacramento (A’s) in the Bricktown Showdown. It’ll be on ESPN2 on Tuesday, and the MVP will receive the first-time ever Bobby Murcer Award. Ian Kennedy will start that game (h/t Chad Jennings and Mike at RAB)

AA Trenton is the Eastern League Champion after defeating Akron (CLE) 5-1 in the final game, and 3-1 in the series.

MVP: Austin Jackson. He homered off laptop thief Clay Buchholz earlier in the postseason, and also did so again yesterday. He also robbed two homers yesterday and drove in a run today.

Best Pitcher: There’s a few intersting candidates, but I’ll go with RHP Jhonny Nunez. He was manager Tony Franklin’s go-to guy in the postseason and flat-out dominating since coming here. (h/t Mike Ashmore)

SS Staten Island didn’t make it out of the first round of their playoffs.

LVP: Casey Erickson, for allowing six runs in 2IP in his start.

HiA Tampa, LoA Charleston and GCL Yankees did not make the playoffs.

First Round of September Call-Ups September 14, 2008

Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Damaso Marte, Phil Coke, September Call-Ups.
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On September 1st, before a day game 13-9 beating of the Detroit Tigers, the Yankees called up LHP Phil Coke and C Chad Moeller. Moeller was the third catcher, so he pretty much had to be there.

Coke is a bit different. Coke has put up good numbers ever since his abbreviated season in 2006, but has always flown under the radar as a lefy with fringe average stuff. You can read more about Coke pre-2008 at E.J. Fagan’s report over at Pending Pinstripes here. However, he finally honed his stuff this year and made very good strides with his command. Pitching in 23 games (20 starts) for Trenton, he posted a 116:39 K:BB ratio (good for 2.97 rate) and a 1.22 WHIP (105 H and 39 BB) in 118.1 IP, good for a 2.51 ERA. He earned an August promotion to Scranton, where a couple of bad outings out of the bullpen pushed his ERA to 3.77 in 14.1 August innings. Despite that, a 2.70 ERA and .9 WHIP and 8.1 K/9 rates over his last ten appearances led to his promotion.

So far, so good, as he has a 0 ERa and has only allowed three baserunners in 7 IP, while striking out five. Of course, there are sample size issues with the major league numbers, but I think he ends up as a team’s good fifth reliever of a seven-man bullpen–that is, an average middle reliever/top-tier LOOGY. That said, I don’t think you let go of Damaso Marte, because he is signed for only one year and is better than any LOOGY available, including Coke. If the rest of the bullpen improves, this team can afford two LOOGYs and it could be a devastating combo on any middle of the lineup.