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Wednesday, June 30, 2004
 
WAIT...DO YOU HEAR THAT? ARE THOSE FOOTSTEPS? That must be what is running through the minds of Miguel Cairo, and to a lesser extent, Enrique Wilson right now. Miguel Cairo has done an admirable job holding down the 2B position for the Yankees, but Enrique Wilson's horrid performance has dragged down the overall Yankee 2B offensive production to .251/.298/.389/.231 (AVG/OBP/SLG/GPA). That is WELL below league average and just incredibly awful production, no matter what the YES announcers want to tell you about RBI. For a while, it seemed that the Yankees would trade to get a 2B, but that has not happened yet, partially because Cairo has been respectable, .301/.344/.451/.268, as a 2B. Despite all Cairo has done for the team, it seems there may be a better option on the horizon. His name is Robinson Cano, and the footsteps Cairo is hearing are his. After starting his AAA career with a 4 for 4 performance, Cano managed to avoid a letdown in his second game. While he made his first AAA out, Cano went 2 for 3 with a single, a home run, and a walk. Just to keep you update, that now puts his seasonal line, compiled between AAA and AA, at .314/.369/.518/.296. To be honest, I have enjoyed watching Miguel Cairo play and do a decent job as the Yankee 2B, but I have not enjoyed Enrique Wilson's time playing 2B and since Torre seems hell-bent on always giving Wilson a shot, I say scrap that "platoon". Scrap that platoon and FREE ROBINSON CANO (Yes, I know I was mildly against this yesterday)! There is no need to free him immediately, but as soon as Cairo starts to slip, and it is inevitable, give Robinson the job. That other guy who was promoted to AAA, Dioner Navarro, had a much better second night after enduring a particularly painful 0fer on Monday. On Tuesday night, Dioner was 1 for 2 with a double and 2 sacrifice flies. Hopefully, Navarro starting off the actual hitting portion of his AAA career with a double is a sign of good things to come, as his power has been absent all year. Andy Phillips pinch-hit and drew an intentional walk in his lone plate appearance. Buddy Carlyle struggled to start the year, was demoted to AA, and after dominating there has found himself in AAA. Well, he apparently "found himself" at some point in his AA stint, because since being back he has pitched very well. Last night's 7 inning, 6 hit, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and 6 strikeout performance was a continuation of this. Being right-handed, he won't get the attention that Graman and Halsey did, but he is yet another guy who could be a serviceable option in some team's bullpen, provided he keeps his performance up. The Columbus bullpen was dominant again as each of the 3 relievers called into action was able to pick up 1 strikeout. Recently acquired left-hander C.J. Nitkowski did so in .2 of an inning, Scott Proctor in .1 of an inning, and Sam Marsonek in 1 inning. Marsonek was the only pitcher to have a line that was not otherwise clean, as he gave up 1 hit. Trenton lost a 10-inning slugfest by the score of 10 to 9. Despite his team picking up 9 runs and 12 hits, Bronson Sardinha managed to go a quiet 0 for 4 with 2 walks and 1 strikeout. It is encouraging to see him get the walks, as his lack of walks at the AA level had been mildly concerning. Bronson was able to join in on the fun of the defensive mishaps though; the Trenton team made 4 errors, 1 of which he was responsible for. The main "beneficiary" of the Trenton defense on this night was Sean Henn. Henn only lasted 5.1 innings, in which time he coughed up 4 hits, 6 runs, 5 earned runs, 2 walks, and struck out 6. Henn also hit 2 batters and uncorked 3 wild pitches. This is just me taking a stab in the dark, but I don't think he had his control last night. Tampa lost 2 to 3 and Jeff Karstens had a weird game while Melky Cabrera had a typical one. Karstens went 7 innings and allowed 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, and 1 walk, which is good. On the other hand, he somehow only managed 1 strikeout and also gave up a homer. Melky Cabrera's performance was classic Melky, 1 for 3 with a double and a walk. I think it's safe to say that he can hit some. Erold Andrus responded to my complaints about the disappearance of his power as Battle Creek lost 4 to 2. Andrus had the best night of the prospect trio. He was 1 for 4 with a home run, his first in the very scientific time period of forever. Eric Duncan had a forgettable night; the young 3B was 0 for 4 with a strikeout and is really in a funk. My expectations for Duncan were heightened by his amazing early season performance, but he has really cooled off of late. This may be a result of him coming from a North Eastern H.S. baseball program where they don't play as many games as the guys down South or on the West coast. Duncan's H.S. baseball experience, or lack thereof, may also be a contributing factor to him lacking the polish, as evidenced by the higher than ideal strikeout rate, that I assumed he would have. Hector Made was 0 for 2 with a walk, a strikeout, and a sac fly. He has also had Duncan-sized struggles of late. The GCL Yankees had a sub-par game as the offense only managed 1 run and 4 hits. 1 of the hits was off the bat of Tim Battle, who went 1 for 2 with a single, a sacrifice fly, a walk, a strikeout and a caught stealing. It seems that the GCL game plan is that whenever someone gets on they should try running. Marcos Vechionacci was 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout. Vech has also yet to make an error (knock on wood). Rudy Guillen DHed again and got the first hit of his rehab assignment. It was a single as he went 1 for 4. Nathan Phillips was 1 for 2 with a single, a HBP, and a strikeout. Jon Poterson pinch hit and...struck out. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
 
SO, WHO HAD JUNE 28th IN THE POOL? I got the best news of my day yesterday when around noon I found out that Dioner Navarro and Robinson Cano had been promoted to AAA. At the time of promotion Navarro was hitting .271/.354/.369/.252 (AVG/OBP/SLG/GPA) and Cano was hitting .301/.356/.497/.284. The immediate general reaction to the promotion was either that Navarro was being rushed or that both guys are now trade bait. However, I think neither of these is necessarily true. First the trade issue. With the Yankees recently missing out on Freddy Garcia, after missing out on Carlos Beltran, many feel that the Yankees may be in the mood to make a deal just for the sake of making one. Not to mention, the pitching staff has shown its holes. If this were the case, wouldn’t the Yankees leave Navarro and Cano at AA where they probably have a greater chance of beating up on their competition? After all, what enhances trade value, beating up on somewhat appropriate competition, or struggling against stronger competition? I think it is the former. So, if the duo was not brought up because of an impending deal, then why? It’s simple in my opinion, Columbus’ record before the roster moves was 41-33, they were in 1st place in the Western Division of the International League, but not by a wide margin. Though I have spoken against this philosophy in the past, Steinbrenner loves to win at the minor league level, especially Columbus. With Columbus on the verge of a title run, having Navarro and Cano manning C and 2B, respectively, gives the team a better shot than they had with Caonabo Cosme and David Parrish holding those positions. As for the subject of promotion worthiness, I think it is obvious to most that follow this site or Yankee prospects in general, that Robinson Cano is ready for the promotion. He was amongst the top 20 in most Eastern League offensive categories and the promotion makes sense for the organization as a whole since Cano might be receiving the 2B job either late this year or early next. Dioner Navarro, on the other hand, was felt not to be ready by many. While Navarro is not as ready as he could be, I don’t think he will have major struggles at the AAA level. The main reason for his apparent unprepared ness is a lack of his customary power numbers, despite this, he has made strides in the departments of plate patience and discipline and I believe these will allow him to AT LEAST maintain his performance. So, what happened in the duo’s first night in Columbus? Considering that the user Buzah, from NYYFans.com, already feels he knows what I will say I will use some of his observations (this is also because I was at a meeting and was only able to catch each player’s final at bat). Robinson Cano continued the hot-hitting he had been doing as of late in Trenton in order to boost his AA average over the .300 mark, and went 4 for 4 with 3 singles and a double in his AA debut. 3 of his 4 hits were to the opposite field, though one single through the left side of the infield was actually through the legs of the 3B and should have been called an error according to Buz. Cano also got a lot of credit from Buz for making “heads up plays” as he just looked like he belonged, though at 21 he is very young for his new league. While I am not yet ready to begin a “FREE ROBINSON CANO” movement, as Buz seems to apt to, I will wait impatiently for July to be up and/or for his Futures Game appearance to judge whether he has come further enough since I last saw him play. Dioner Navarro’s AAA debut was not as storybook. While Qlitch from EZ-Boards commended Navarro’s pitch framing, his offense was poor. In a game that saw the Clippers score 11 runs and collect 14 hits, Navarro managed to stay quiet by going 0 for 4 with a GIDP, line out to center, ground out, and strike out. Needless to say, it was a tough night for the third youngest player in AAA ball (I think), but he should bounce back nicely tonight. (*Random Aside Alert*) Each time I’ve seen Navarro play it seems to me that his hitting zone is like Jeter’s. What I mean by this is that he is a hacker who will take his walks, in addition, he also does the Jeter butt-stick move on the pitch low and in, maybe it’s just me. In non-Navarro/Cano Columbus news Andy Phillips was 1 for 5 with a single, Colter Bean pitched 2 sub par innings and allowed 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, and struck out 4. There was also an issue with what’s going on with Alex Graman. While he has been removed from the team’s website roster, as of this writing, he still appears on the minorleaguebaseball.com Clippers roster so I will assume that there is some sort of error with the Clippers’ site. With the promotion of Navarro and Cano, the Trenton infield just got a lot less star studded. All that is left is Bronson Sardinha. Sardinha somehow was still in the bottom of a gutted Trenton lineup last night and had one of his lesser AA games thus far by going 1 for 4 with a single and a strikeout. He is hitting .375, which is nice, but he also has 11 strikeouts in his first 32 at bats, which is somewhat alarming. Especially when compared to the 1 walk he has been able to draw thus far. Tampa put 6 runs and 11 hits on the board last night, and as usual, Melky Cabrera did his part in the damage. The CF went 2 for 5 with 2 singles while hitting from the 3rd spot as he continues to race his way through the lower minors (for those of you who use Baseball America to check minor league stats, I am warning you that their information for Melky’s A- numbers is incorrect at the time of this writing. They seem to have added Edwin Cabrera’s numbers to Melky’s for some reason). After putting together back-to-back (and belly-to-belly) somewhat promising nights of hitting, Eric Duncan regressed last night. Duncan had 5 at bats, and made out in each one of them, amongst his outs were 2 of the strike variety. With Estee Harris demoted, Duncan is gunning for the Battle Creek season lead in strikeouts, and from there, the Midwest League one as well. Erold “bad Ichiro!” Andrus was 1 for 4 with a single and a strikeout. It’s amazing how all of his early season power has dissipated. Tyler Clippard had an OK start for Battle Creek, but was not involved in the final decision. In 5 innings of work, Clippard gave up 9 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned runs, walked none, and struck out 5. His ERA rose to 3.35. Since promotion season is in full swing, I think I should point out that Tyler Clippard deserves a promotion to Tampa. He was better than Steven White and though White got promoted partially due to his age, I think Clippard has at least earned some consideration. He has done a great job building on a dominant GCL debut. Speaking of GCL debuts (you know you love that segue); Philip Hughes took his first step towards the Stadium yesterday afternoon. Hughes started the game and went 2 innings, in which he allowed 2 hits and struck out 3 while walking none. The short outing is standard GCL operating procedure as teams usually force pitchers to work their way up in terms of stamina and duration of appearance. Tim Battle and Marcos Vechionacci continued their torrid starts from the top of the order. Battle manned his usual position out in CF and went 2 for 5 with 2 singles and a stolen base. Vechionacci moved back to 3B and kept hitting, as he was also 2 for 5 with 2 singles and a stolen base. Vech’s steal was his first successful one in 3 attempts. Judging by the consistent stealing attempts and lineup position, in addition to the ability to play SS, I am going to assume Vech has some speed in addition to excellent hitting abilities. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about a prospect this early in their career, if he can even become half of what I’m imagining it would be amazing. Jon “the guy who the Yankees drafted instead of Jay Rainville” Poterson was 1 for 5 with a single and a strikeout while playing LF. Usually you draft players closer to the left side of the defensive spectrum (the more difficult positions to play); in order to anticipate that as they age and get slower they will slide to the right. Having played 3 games at LF and 4 at DH and with a leg injury history, Poterson is beginning his career firmly planted on the right-side. He is also beginning his career with 9 strikeouts in 28 at bats. Anderson Amador played the other OF corner and was 1 for 4 with a single and an RBI. Not one to be easily outdone as far as strikeouts, Amador now has 9 in 24 at bats. As a point in his favor, he does figure to have some defensive value, at the very least. Nathan Phillips was 0 for 3 with a walk. The walk was his 3rd in 21 at bats, and it also evened his BB:K ratio at 3. Another important stat for Phillips is that he has now gotten his game:E ratio evened. Perhaps the most important piece of information produced by yesterday afternoon’s GCL contest was that Rudy Guillen is in fact alive. Making his first game appearance in months, Guillen went 0 for 3 while hitting 3rd and DHing. When Guillen gets back to the FSL, sometime in the next week I assume, I wonder if he’ll be shocked to find that Melky Cabrera has taken his lineup spot and defensive position. This, of course, is my roundabout way of pointing out that Guillen has some catching up to do. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Sunday, June 27, 2004
 
LOOK AT ME TOO Brad Halsey has been freed and pitched well in his first start and not so well in his second (though it wasn't nearly as awful as some would have you think). Through his first two starts, Halsey has a qDIPs of 4.91. While he was pitching for Columbus, the other prominent starter on the team was Alex Graman. Graman was not as impressive a prospect as Halsey in terms of performance this year, but I have stated previously that he could be a useful left-hand reliever. With all this in mind, yesterday was Graman's sign that he is back, after slumping a little bit. In 6.2 innings pitched, Graman allowed 8 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 1 walk and struck out 11. Jason Anderson then came on to pitch scoreless relief. In 1.1 inning Anderson allowed 1 hit and nothing else. Sam Marsonek, yet another serviceable bullpen arm plugging away at Columbus, closed the game out with 1 inning of work where he allowed 1 hit and struck out 2. The bevy of potential solid reliever is an illustration of why bullpen guys are, for the most part, fungible. Andy Phillips had another good day at the plate, of course. He was 2 for 4 with a walk and 2 singles while playing 1B. With Tony Clark's current struggles, not to mention Giambi's struggles of his own, it might be time to start a free Andy Phillips movement and have him just come up as a utility IF. He is hitting .335/.411/.567/.323 (AVG/OBP/SLG/GPA) after all. Trenton won today, making the victory more impressive was that they were facing Matt Peterson, who is one of the Mets' better pitching prospects. For his part, Peterson pitched very well, but the Thunder took advantage of the multitude of singles they got off of him and his bullpen to get the victory. Robinson Cano finished the day at .301 by going 2 for 3 with 2 singles and a walk. Matt, from Gogs is the Greek God of Geeks, said that "Cano obviously looked like [the] best hitter in their lineup" and in addition "[he] put some awesome swings on Peterson's balls". Bronson Sardinha was "only" 1 for 4 and struck out twice while not being noteworthy enough for Matt to comment on him. Another Trenton player that impressed Matt was DeSalvo. In his second AA start DeSalvo went 6 innings and allowed 5 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 1 walk, and struck out 6. His performance prompted "the other Matt" to say "[DeSalvo] was awesome. There were maybe two hard hit balls off him in his six innings". "The other Matt" also made sure to warn that "the BMets had a pretty crappy lineup out there" and "that the two hard hit balls were from Gil Velazquez and Ron Acuna". Still, DeSalvo has thus far done very well at the AA level and is asserting himself amongst the better pitching prospects in the organization. Tampa won 9 to 2 as Steven White picked up his first A+ victory. White went 5 innings and allowed 6 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 1 walk, and struck out 5. The lone run was on a homer. After two starts, White's A+ ERA is 2.08. White is similar to DeSalvo in that he is an older, accomplished college arm that needs to move quickly in order to verify his status as a meaningful prospect. Melky Cabrera had what is a poor game for him. He was 1 for 5 with a single and an RBI. It's strange not to see him pick up a double at this point. Abel Gomez lost for the fourth time this season despite posting one of his better starters. In 6.1 innings Gomez allowed 5 hits, 5 runs, only 2 of which were earned, 2 walks, and struck out 7. Usually, the key for Gomez is his control, today he had that, but his defense decided not to show up. He even made one error his self. Another defensive culprit from the game was Eric Duncan. Duncan had 2 errors while playing 3B while putting together his second straight 1 for 4 with an RBI and a strikeout game. This time the lone hit was not for extra bases. Erold Andrus went 2 for 4 with singles and is now up to .273 though it is a generally empty .273. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Saturday, June 26, 2004
 
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, HE'S BACK! Columbus lost and it was another overall run of the mill game for the AAA squad. Scott Proctor pitched, but did not do great. In 1.2 innings the hard throwing reliever allowed 2 hits and walked 2 while striking out 1, though he did manage to avoid giving up any runs. Andy Phillips was 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout while playing 1B. Phillips seems to have settled in at the .330 range in terms of batting average, he is currently at .332. 3B Jeff Deardorff had another good game as he went 2 for 4 with 2 singles to raise his average to .288. An extra innings affair plus a good offensive showing meant that the Trenton batters got tons of plate appearances. The important hitters, outside of the resting Dioner Navarro, made good use of this. Robinson Cano had a huge game; the 2B was 4 for 6 with 2 singles, a double, and a home run. After this performance Cano is at .298, right on the cusp of that magical .300 batting average. Not one to be easily outdone, Bronson Sardinha continued to rake AA pitching by going 3 for 5 with 3 singles. I think Sardinha is enjoying life after the FSL. The starting pitcher for the Thunder was Ramon Ramirez and he was simply dominant. In 7.1 innings, Ramirez permitted 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, walked 1, and struck out 10. Once again, the numbers since his return from injury are: 20.2 innings, 17 hits, 8 runs, 8 earned runs, 2 walks, 23 strikeouts, and 1 home run. He has a quickDIPs of 2.06. CLEARLY, he was only struggling earlier because of the injury, and almost as clearly, he should be promoted to AAA. The Official Sixth Starter of the Minor Yankee Blog is back. Melky Cabrera is unstoppable right now. After completing the MWL and slumping briefly in the FSL, Cabrera is starting to roll again. Tonight he was 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. For those of you attempting to keep count, and I know it's hard, Melky now has 33 extra base hits in 269 combined at bats between A- and A+. He also has 21 walks. Not too shabby for a 19-year-old who also happens to play outstanding defense. Battle Creek, former home of Melky Cabrera, lost by a score of 5 to 2. Their offense only managed 2 runs despite banging out 11 hits and their opponents only managing 7 hits. Hector Made was not invited to the hit party though; he was 0 for 3 with a walk and 2 strikeouts. After experiencing a spike in his walk rate Made had gone back to his hacktastic ways. Hopefully, this is a step in the direction of his more patient, productive approach. Erold Andrus was 1 for 4 with a single and 2 strikeouts. Andrus has taken the 2-slot in the lineup, which was once the property of Good Made. Eric Duncan continued to swing a power bat by going 1 for 4 with a triple and a strikeout. The triple was Duncan's second of the year and his thirty-third extra base hit of the season. Duncan is finally getting on track again and if he gets hot enough may give himself a shot at some decent A+ exposure. To cap the night, the most exciting team in the world, the GCL Yankees lost for the first time all season. Christian Garcia got his first action of the year. Though he started the game he did not last very long. In his lone inning of work, the very raw Garcia gave up 2 hits and 2 walks while not striking anyone out. This led to the scoring of 1 run, which was earned. (For nickname explanations see yesterday's post) Toolsy McTools had a very mixed night. On the one hand he made 4 outs, including 3 strikeouts, and an error. On the other hand he also hit his third triple of the year. My Boy had a night full of positives. He played SS, which is great, because I'm assuming it means he is excellent defensively at 3B, as that is the only type of 3B that can seriously be moved to SS. How was he at the plate? Excellent. In 1 at bat Vech singled, in his other he doubled. His other 2 plate appearances ended in walks. Perhaps this is the emergence of his famed plate patience/discipline. Yes folks, he is only 17. Jon Poterson had another 0fer, this time it was for 4 at bats. Only one of those outs was a strikeout though, so that's a plus. Tools managed to go 1 for 4 while striking out twice and Tools Jr. was 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Friday, June 25, 2004
 
THE WHOLE GUN THING That Orlando Hernandez kid was bumped up from A+ to AAA and the results were not pretty. His last start was a near no-hitter and this...this was a many-hitter. In 4.1 innings, "El Duque" allowed 8 hits, 8 runs, 8 earned runs, walked 2, and struck out 5. He also gave up 2 home runs. Jason Anderson, normally a AAA relief ace, pitched the 7th and had a rough go of it. In his lone inning of work Neo gave up 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and struck out no one. Obviously, he was not fooling anyone. Jeff Deardorff was 1 for 3 with a double and a walk and Andy Phillips was 1 for 5 with a single. Neither of these guys figure to get a shot as the Yankees are loaded at their best positions, on either corner, but they could be useful bench players somewhere and they've earned a look through their performance. In 248 at bats in A+ Tampa Bronson Sardinha managed 2 home runs. Through his first 19 AA Trenton at bats he has 2 home runs, as he went 2 for 4 with a single and a home run last night. On the downside he also struck out twice, which gives him 7 strikeouts in those same 19 at bats against 1 walk. Robinson Cano also had a nice game power-wise; he tripled in the first, though that was his only hit in 4 at bats. It was his league leading 8th triple of the year, Cano also struck out once. Dioner Navarro got 2 fruitless at bats in, one ending in a strikeout, before he was removed from the game. It's not clear why at this point. The starter for the Thunder was "Tiger" Wang who had one of his better strikeout performances of the year. In 6 innings Chien-Ming allowed 4 hits and walked 1 while striking out 8. He had no other blemishes on his line. Wang lowered his ERA to 4.20. Tampa's Jose Valdez pitched 5.2 innings of sub-par baseball in what seems like his first start in a while. Valdez gave up 6 hits, 2 runs, none of which were earned, walked 1, and struck out 3. His ERA now stands at 4.41. Valdez, who I thought would be taking a step forward this year, has done nothing to help his status in 2004. Just goes to show that sometimes you need more than velocity on your fastball. One player who actually has done a lot for his status is Melky Cabrera and he continued his recent hot-hitting tonight. Cabrera was 2 for 4 with 2 singles and has his average up to .299. Melky is simply a hitting machine. And yeah, about the whole gun thing, almost in response to my less than positive, to put it one way, comments yesterday, Eric Duncan broke out. The 3B had his first big night in forever by going 2 for 5 with a double and a home run; he also struck out once of course. Through all the struggles, Duncan finds himself 5th in doubles, 6th in homers, 5th in total bases, 7th in walks, 4th in RBI, and unfortunately 8th in strikeouts. Erold Andrus was 2 for 4 with a walk. His season has been fascinating. At the outset, he was hitting everything for extra bases and piling up the RBI and total bases, but also the outs. Now, he has recently become a singles hitter with a decent walk rate. Usually, when a prospect shows a skill at least once it's a good sign as it means he may have the ability to do it consistently, so now the wait will be for Andrus to consummate his considerable skills. Andrus also stole his 7th base of the year, which goes along with his new leadoff hitter image. Hector Made has cooled off considerably, as evidenced by his 0 for 4. I still think he will get hot and end the season around .280 though. His overall body of work has not been impressive thus far, but he has shown me enough, especially as of late, to have faith in his potential. Another day in the GCL another good afternoon for Tim "Toolsy McTools" Battle. The 18-year-old was 2 for 3 with a single, a triple, and a walk from the leadoff spot. Battle is now 7 for 19 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 3 stolen bases, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts. He simply does it all ladies and gentlemen. What else should be expected from the man some thought was the best all around tools package in the 2003 draft? Marcos Vechionacci, my boy, had a down game. He only managed a single in his 4 at bats. Jon Poterson, hitting behind him, was 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout. He has 2 walks and 7 strikeouts in his first 19 at bats. Anderson "Tools" Amador went 2 for 4 with 2 singles and 2 strikeouts. That's 6 strikeouts in 16 at bats for those of you keeping score at home. Nate Phillips was 3 for 4 with 3 singles, but he also made 3 errors. That means in his first 5 games he has 8 hits, all singles, and 6 errors. Jose "Tools Jr." Perez had the worst day of the tools family; he was 0 for 4 with a strikeout. The starting pitcher for the GCL Yanks was Jeff Marquez. In 4 innings he allowed 4 hits and struck out 4, there were no other blemishes. So far he has been very good. Jay Stephens then came on to pitch 4 innings of hitless, walk-less, dominant relief. He struck out 3, picked up his second win of the season and lowered his ERA to 1. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Thursday, June 24, 2004
 
JUMPED THE GUN? First things first, the Carlos Beltran saga is over. The prospects are safe. Great job by Beane, though this trade looks like it works for everyone involved. Now, if only someone other than the Yankees could pick up that Freddy Garcia fellow. Columbus won again. They've been doing that a lot this season, as opposed to the recent past when they sucked...a lot. Colter Bean seems to be back on track as he delivered a dominant outing. In 2 innings Bean struck out 4 batters while walking only 1, he did not allow anything else. His ERA is back below 2, 1.99 to be exact. Andy Phillips did, as Andy Phillips is prone to do, that is, hit. The 1B went 2 for 3 with 2 singles and a walk. Trenton lost a close game by the score of 3 to 2, prospect-wise it was an overall positive night; Sean Henn pitched well, Bronson Sardinha hit well, Robinson Cano hit well, and Dioner Navarro didn't go 0fer. In 7.1 innings, Henn allowed 8 hits, 1 run, 0 earned runs, walked 1 batter, and struck out 5. This is pure, out of the blue speculation on my part, but if Henn has 2 more starts like this he may be on his way to AAA. Cano and Sardinha both made errors, but made up for it at the plate. Sardinha was 2 for 4 with a strikeout and is 5 for his first 15 at AA, though the 5 strikeouts in that same time is somewhat troubling. As good as Sardinha was at the plate, Cano was even better. The 2B seems to be out of yet another slump; he went 2 for 2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly. His hitting for average and patience have seemingly returned, now all that is needed is for the power to show up again. Dioner Navarro was 1 for 4 with a single and also had a rough time in the field with a passed ball and a wild pitch, though he did gun down 1 of the 2 runners that decided to take off against him. Oh yeah, Henn also made an error. He did it so he could be a part of the team effort to do their primary job well and fail at the secondary. Melky "Lone Tampa Hitting Prospect of Note" Cabrera found himself moved back to the number 3 spot in the lineup. The CF responded by going 0 for 3 with a walk and 2 strikeouts. While the 0fer is certainly disappointing, the walk is a positive sign. Cabrera now has 6 in 93 at bats at the A+ level as he attempts to get to the 10% threshold. Jeff Karstens started the game and from the looks of the box score he may have injured himself. The right-hander went 2 innings and allowed 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 2 batters. The performance was good so it is a wonder why he was removed. By now, you may be wondering what I was referring to with my jump the gun comment. With that, I present to you, Eric Duncan. Tonight, Duncan went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. Duncan is now 3 for his last 24 and 13 for 75 with an 8 walk to 25 strikeout ratio since June 1st. Yeah, it's been ugly for the guy I was so high on only less than a month ago. Hector Made has also hit a snag. The recently surging shortstop was 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. Erold Andrus, from the leadoff spot, also had a bad night; the CF was 0 for 4, though he managed to avoid the K. Basically, everyone tripped out of the gate coming from the All Star Break. In the GCL, Tim Battle is beginning to show why his tools package was so heralded in the 2003 draft. The CF was 2 for 4 with a double, a home run, a strikeout, and a stolen base. He simply does it all. Not to be easily shown up, my boy Vech had himself a mixed night. He struck out 3 times, which was bad, but in his lone other at bat he went deep, his first homer of the season. He is now 8 for his first 18. Poterson took the collar in 3 at bats, he struck out twice and walked once. SS Phillips was 1 for 4 with a single and a strikeout. Jose Perez, the other toolsy OF, went 0 for 3 with a strikeout. Toni Lara pitched one inning out of the bullpen and allowed a single and struck out a batter, but allowed nothing else. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
 
OPPOSITE OF LETDOWN (UPDATED) Only two Yankee full season minor league squads played tonight, Tampa and Trenton. Despite a relatively small pool of prospect performance to choose from, Wednesday's games were much more pleasing than Tuesday's. At Trenton, good nights were had by all prospects involved. Dioner Navarro had the worst night of the trio; 1 for 4 with a double, but it was very encouraging because at this point the most important thing for him may be to regain his power stroke. Robinson Cano was next on the ladder in terms of quality of performance. The 2B went 1 for 3 with a single and a walk. As I have said in the past, every walk for him is a step in the right direction as it shows he has truly taken his game to another level. He now has 22 walks in 279 at bats after collecting 26 in 530 at bats last year and 33 in 561 the year before. Bronson Sardinha had the best night of all as he homered in 3 at bats. The homer was his first at the AA level and 3rd of the year. I fully expect Sardinha to have better numbers at AA than he did at A+ because the only thing he really struggled with at Tampa was power. Power is something many FSL hitters struggle with, as the FSL is a pitcher's league. Tampa won, and the lone position prospect on the team, Melky Cabrera, had himself quite a night. Melky, hitting 3rd, went 2 for 3 with a triple, a double, and a sac fly. The double was his 10th in the FSL and the triple was his 2nd in the FSL. The Melky Cabrera extra base hit count is now at 32. That would be 26 doubles, 5 triples, and 1 home run. If he keeps playing like this for another month or so, a huge if, he may find himself in AA. *** Ok, everyday I go back and forth on this so I'll just update the GCL and NY-Penn League as I see fit. On Tuesday, my boy, Marcos Vechionacci went 1 for 4 with a single and a strikeout. Tim Battle led off and was 1 for 4 with a double, but he also struck out twice. Poterson took the collar again, though he did manage a sac fly. Poterson struck out once in his 3 at bats. Phillips had a good game, going 2 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout and Jose Perez was 1 for 3 with a single and a walk. On Wednesday, my boy, Marcos Vechionacci led the charge. Vech was 3 for 5 with 3 singles and a caught stealing. He is 7 for his first 14. Jon Poterson showed off the power that led the Yankees to draft him by going 2 for 5 with a homer and a single, he also struck out once. Anderson Amador, who I have no faith in, was 0 for 5 with a strikeout. Tim Battle had another good game as he went 1 for 3 with a double and 2 walks, Battle also struck out once. Phillips also continued his hot start by going 2 for 4 with 2 singles. Erik Abreu pitched well on Wednesday; in 3 innings he struck out 3 and had an otherwise clean line. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
 
LETDOWN The night before last was filled with tons of super exciting prospect stuff. Last night, not so much. Columbus won 8 to 3 and Andy Phillips and Alex Graman were named to the IL All-Star Team. To celebrate his selection, Phillips had a big night. He was 3 for 5 with a double and 2 singles. From the other side of the diamond Jeff Deardorff was 1 for 4 with a single and a walk. Jason Anderson and Scott Proctor turned in their typically strong relief work to close out the game. Anderson pitched the 8th and walked a man, but gave up nothing else. Proctor pitched the 9th and struck out a man with a line that was otherwise clean. The big story of the Trenton game was, of course, Matt DeSalvo's arrival in AA. DeSalvo's final line; 7 innings, 4 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts, was solid. However, it did not tell the full story. DeSalvo was dominant. Most of the opposition's offense was on plays where Trenton defenders did not make plays and they were counted as "hits". Anyway, DeSalvo pitched well enough for me to be confident in him having a strong rest of the season in AA. Bronson Sardinha only waited until his second AA game to make his 1st error. The error was part of a baaaad night for Bronson; he was 0 for 4 with a walk and 3 strikeouts. The strikeouts were more a product of patience than wild aggressiveness though, if you want a silver lining. Robinson Cano...he was hacking. Cano went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts and after pushing .300, has started to slump terribly again. Navarro was another Trenton hitter with a bad night as the New Britain pitching staff handled them pretty well. Though he hit the ball hard a couple times, Navarro is having some bad luck right now and was 0 for 4 with a K. His slump has forced the manager to move him from the 3 spot all the way down to the 6. Tampa lost by a score of 13 to 6 in Steven White's A+ debut. White was shelled, but not really. He did give up 8 hits and 8 runs in only 3.2 innings pitched, but only 1 run was earned as his defense just did not show up yesterday. White also took the time to give up 2 walks and strike out a batter. Melky Cabrera, hitting in the meat of the order, was 1 for 4 with a double and a walk. The double was his 9th at Tampa, 25th of the season, and overall 30th extra base hit. He has really done a lot for his status this year. *** So yeah, I'm only going to cover the NY-Penn and Gulf Coast Leagues in comments. So I will either post observations about them there, or answer questions about them there. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
 
I LIED Going hand-in-hand with the excitement of promotion season, is the general excitement that prospects give. Even for a team as stacked as the present day Yankees, prospects are a hope for the future. A hope that when the Bernie Williams' and Jason Giambi's of the world finish breaking down, your team will have someone to step right in. Someone who has a track record and scouting report so impressive that when you think about them, the sky is really the limit. However, this is often not the case. Generally, the closer to the majors a prospect gets, the more their faults become apparent. The more that hole in the swing gets exploited. The more that sneaky motion loses its' surprise. That is why the lowest levels of baseball that "count", the Gulf Coast League in the Yankees case, are sometimes the most exciting. It's just a bunch of kids (mostly) with scouting reports that beam (mostly), fresh off of destroying high school pitching (mostly), and ready to give you hallucinations of the next Great One. All of this prospect fawning brings me to my next paragraph. I initially claimed that I would not cover the GCL. Well, last night was opening night, and it turns out that there will be no way for me to keep my attention from this team. Unlike the Staten Island team, which I find to be boring and bereft of major talent, there is a lot of potential on the GCL Yankees. This was on display last night. The starting pitcher for the GCL Yankees was Jason Stephens, the guy who the Yankees compared to Mark Prior last year. In his first official action of 2004, and in a return to his main league from 2003, Stephens went 5 innings and picked up the victory. His stats were unimpressive though as he allowed 7 hits, including 1 home run, and struck out 1, though he did manage to walk no one. Coming in in relief of Stephens was Jeffrey Marquez, his performance, was more statistically enticing. In 3 innings the 19-year-old allowed neither hits nor runs while walking 1 and striking out 3. Though I was originally sour about the Yankees drafting him, his combination of live fastball, young age, and projectable build could prove to be a steal. Marcos Vechionacci led the offensive side of things. I am going to say something that could prove to be incredibly stupid and short sighted, but I will go ahead and put it out for public perusal anyway. By this time next year, Marcos Vechionacci will be the top prospect in the Yankee organization and one of the elite prospects in baseball. There I said it, and if it doesn't prove to be true, you can hold me accountable. Vechionacci took a step in that direction by going 3 for 5 with 2 doubles while striking out once last night. Tim Battle, who is an excellent tools prospect, led off and played CF. Battle went 1 for 5 with a single. This 18-year-old has a ton of physical talent and is a great story after overcoming cancer, so I will keep my eye on him. Anderson Amador, last year's big international signing for the Yankee organization, was 1 for 3 with a single and 2 strikeouts. Amador also struck out twice. More than any other statistic, it will be important to keep an eye on Amador's K total, as all the physical talent in the world will do you no good if you can't make contact. This is something Amador proved last year by striking out about half the time. Another last year's toolsy OF trio, to go with Estee Harris and Tim Battle, Jose Perez, played in last night's game. Perez is the same age as battle and was 0 for 3 while playing LF. Perez managed a walk in addition to not striking out. 18-year-old SS Nathan Phillips was 0 for 3 with a walk and a caught stealing while striking out once. Phillips is reportedly not much of an offensive prospect, but his combination of glove and youth will make someone to at least glance at for now, though he did manage to make an error. Assuming that "Patterson" was actually a box score typo, and "Poterson" was meant, the Yankees 1st round supplemental pick also played last night. From the DH spot he managed a 1 for 5 with a single and 2 strikeouts. Strikeouts, similar to Amador, will be the main Poterson statistic I keep my eye on. Raul Dominguez, a Yankee 1B prospect who has been receiving some press for some time now, it remains to be seen if he is worthy of this, was 1 for 5 with a strikeout. I have thus far gotten conflicting reports on Dominguez' age and until I am able to nail it down, I can't fully comment on him one way or the other. *** Some of you may not realize this, but there is an update under this one, so keep scrolling. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Monday, June 21, 2004
 
IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING!!!! There is almost nothing I love about minor league baseball more than promotion season. For the Yankee organization, this is usually around mid-to-late June. Prospects who are getting good results or who the Yankees feel are on the verge of a breakthrough and have performed solidly get promoted to their next level of competition. They are, for the most part, one step closer to the big leagues. One-step closer to seeing if all of the talk that has been had over them is true or way off. This time of the year is finally here. Promotion season is finally happening. Promotion season officially began with the promotion of Matt DeSalvo from Tampa to Trenton. This was followed by the promotion of Steven White from Battle Creek to Tampa in order to take DeSalvo's place. Justin Pope was also promoted to Trenton, though his promotion is supposed to be brief. Finally, Brad Halsey was promoted to the majors, in a situation similar to Pope's. Despite these promotions, which I did find exciting, I was waiting for more. I was waiting for some of the Yankee position prospects to be promoted. Thus far, the only major position prospect to be promoted this season was Melky Cabrera, whose combination of tools and performance, along with a need in the Tampa OF was too much to hold back as he made a quick exit from Battle Creek. Now, some weeks later, another position prospect has finally been promoted. Last night was Bronson Sardinha's first game as the 3B of the Trenton Thunder. Perhaps more important than Sardinha's individual promotion is the ripple effect it will have on the organization. For you see, Sardinha plays the same position as Eric Duncan, which would be: hitter manning the hot corner. With Sardinha promoted, it leaves the door for 3B at Tampa open for Duncan, who could step in and do a good job, despite his recent slump at Battle Creek. So, how did Bronson's first AA game go? Well, the team lost by a score of 3 to 2, but Bronson was a part of the positives. He was 2 for 4 with a strikeout and 2 singles at the dish, while avoiding any errors. Sardinha hit 7th. Robinson Cano, hitting 5th, had a great game. The power hitting 2B was 2 for 4 with a walk, a strikeout, and 2 singles as he lifted his average to .289. So, seeing as Cano and Navarro rarely have simultaneous good games, and Sardinha has now been added to the mix, you can probably guess what kind of night Dioner had. I'll actually save you the trouble; Dioner was 1 for 5 with a single and a strikeout while hitting 3rd. His recent slump has dipped his average back down into the .270s, .278 to be exact. Outside of actual in game performance, Cano and Navarro were able to receive simultaneous good news as both players were named to the World roster for the Futures Game during the All-Star Break (If anyone has questions about this, I can answer them in the comments). The other important story from the Trenton game was the work of starter Ramon Ramirez. Though he was pinned with the loss, Ramirez performed admirably and it is becoming clearer and clearer that injury was the main cause of his early season ineffectiveness. The 22-year-old right-hander went 7.1 innings and handed out 8 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 0 walks, 1 homer, and struck out 9. In his 2 starts since his return from injury Ramirez' stats are as follows: 13.1 innings, 12 hits, 5 runs, 5 earned runs, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts, 1 home run. A couple more starts like this and he should be back in AAA as he tries to take back the title of Official Sixth Starter of the Minor Yankee Blog, currently held by Brad Halsey. The pitcher that Halsey fought off for that title was Alex Graman. Graman had arguably his best start of the year tonight. He pitched a complete game shutout and only gave up 6 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6. Graman's greatest problem over the course of his career has been a bad walk rate, though he doesn't have the upside of Halsey, if he can keep his walks down he could be a useful situational lefty. This is just speculation on my part, but judging by the box score, Andy Phillips went down with some sort of injury last night, hopefully it is not serious. Phillips was the starting 1B, but after 2 at bats, he was replaced in that role by the DH, forcing Graman to hit for himself. Graman did do well in this regard though, going 1 for 2 with a single. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Sunday, June 20, 2004
 
2 POSTS IN 2 DAYS!!! Columbus won a slugfest, 9 to 7, and 2 of the 3 potentially useful relievers appeared in the game. Colter Bean picked up the win with a dominant performance, 2.1 innings pitched, 1 hit, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts of no run baseball. Scott Proctor followed Bean, quite a contrast in styles, and pitched very well. In his lone inning of work Proctor allowed 1 hit while striking out 2 and walking none. No runs were allowed of course. Neither of the current Columbus duo of note had a GREAT night. Andy Phillips played 1B and had a single in 3 at bats; he also walked once and has been walking much more often lately, a great sign. Deardorff's day was actually pretty bad; he was 0 for 3 with a walk, good, and 3 strikeouts, bad. "Tiger" Wang was decent, not good or great, in his start on Sunday. In 7 innings pitched, the future dominant reliever allowed 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 1 walk, and struck out 4. Trenton lost the game 4 to 3 in 10 innings though. Navarro and Cano both had poor games. Cano was 1 for 5 with a single and Navarro was 0 for 4 with a walk. According to the user "don turner 98" at NYYFans.com, Cano nearly lost the game by not hustling on one of his groundouts in the 9th and Navarro hit the ball hard, but at people. Tampa won their game on the pitching of some guy named Orlando Hernandez. Hernandez is exceedingly old for a prospect, but his performance was still impressive. He went 7 innings and allowed 1 hit, 2 runs, none of which were earned, walked 2 and struck out 5. Fortunately, the offense was not too bad either. Bronson Sardinha was 2 for 5 with a single and his long awaited 2nd homer of the year. Melky Cabrera also drew another walk and in 3 at bats hit his first homer of the year. The combination of the homer and increased walk rate of late lead me to believe a surge from Cabrera is coming as he continues to build on what has been one of the most successful years of anyone on the farm, though it did take him 24 doubles and 4 triples before he could hit his first homer. Battle Creek lost 7 to 8, but the key prospects' performances were disappointing. Eric Duncan was the greatest culprit as he made an error in the field in addition to having a horrific night at the plate; Duncan was 1 for 5 with a double and 3 strikeouts. His K:BB ration is now getting dangerously close to 2 and he has struck out in more than 25% of hit at bats. Hector Made was not as bad, though his night was still not great. He continued his recent extra base hit surge by going 1 for 5 with a double. The best night of all came from the most surprising of sources. Say hello to Estee Harris and his 2 for 3 with a double and a walk performance. He is now up to .214. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Saturday, June 19, 2004
 
FINALLY...I HAVE COME BACK TO THIS SITE To be brutally honest, there have been a lot of bad nights for Yankee prospects as of late. Despite this, I'm feeling great. I'm feeling great because Brad Halsey was great. Halsey was pretty much everything I could have hoped for. Though Zach Greinke is a better prospect, with a much higher ceiling, seeing Halsey in action today, after watching Greinke last weekend made me see some parallels between the two. Neither has an overpowering fastball, but both do a great job of changing speeds, throwing strikes, and keeping the hitter off balance. Speaking of Halsey's fastball, it was mostly high 80s with a couple of 90 MPH ones, but I wonder if it never touched 92 due to inaccurate scouting reports, or pitching on 3 days rest. Either way, I would love to see Halsey stick with the big league club as either a reliever or a starter until Kevin Brown is completely healthy. I also hope that my arm isn't too worn out for patting myself on the back with after this whole "FREE BRAD HALSEY" campaign. Columbus won 5 to 4 today. None of "The Replacement Players" had a good game. 1B Andy Phillips was 0 for 3 with a walk and Jeff Deardorff was 0 for 4 while playing 3B. For those of you who do not know, Brian Myrow has been traded to the Dodgers as the PTBNL in the Tenrun Hurts deal. Phillips' and Deardorff's overall performances of late have been consistent with what they've done all year, which is hit. All the notable Columbus pitchers are now in the bullpen basically, as Alex Graman has struggled, and Brad Halsey is in the bigs (hopefully for a while). The bullpen still has some interesting arms going almost every night though. Tonight's was Jason "Neo" Anderson. Neo earned the win by going 1 inning and striking out 1, while the rest of his line was clean. Trenton has been the source of a lot of news lately. Navarro and Cano are being watched every day by scouts for potential trades, witness Cano's recent 3B experimenting. While the duo had one game this week where they both performed exceptionally, a VERY rare occasion, they have been pretty mediocre of late. In a way this could be great, if the Yankees keep them and they live up to their potential, but Steinbrenner is probably not happy as he most likely wants Carddy Gartran. Cano had a bad game today, 0 for 4 with a strikeout, and is now down to .287 after nearly reaching the magic .300 mark earlier this year. Cano was back in the 3rd spot of the lineup. Hitting fifth was Dioner Navarro, and though he generally would seem like a strange middle of the order hitter, he fit the bill on Saturday, as he was 1 for 4 with a double and a K. The double was his 13th of the season. Navarro now has 17 extra base hits. And is on pace for an extra base hit total in the high 30s, considering he had 42 last year it would be a step back not to see him up that performance. The other interesting aspect of Trenton of late has been the pitching developments. Non-prospect Justin Pope, who the Yankees picked up in the Hitchcock deal with the Cards got the start today and did well. He will be sent back to Tampa soon though; one pitcher who has likely seen the last of Tampa is Matt DeSalvo. As Halsey's freedom from AAA was being pushed on this site, DeSalvo's from A+ was also receiving attention. This too has passed. If DeSalvo is dominant in his AA stint, where he will likely spend the rest of the season barring something drastic, he could be an interesting arm to keep an eye on for 2005. If not, he may have a nice future in the bullpen. As the exodus from Tampa has begun, Bronson Sardinha still finds himself stuck there. Sardinha just keeps on hitting though, as any player better than most others in his league should. The 3B was 1 for 3 with a single and a K. Melky Cabrera, on the other hand, has been EXTREMELY inconsistent. He will have one game where he hits tons of doubles, his specialty, and then in the next he'll perform poorly. Due to this type of poor performance as of late, Cabrera was benched on Saturday. He came in as a pinch hitter and made out as his average has now dropped to .288. Normally, a .288 average is fine, but Melky's atrocious walk rate thus far hinders this. I have no fears about this though, unlike what seemed to be the sentiment in the last post. Melky, overall, has a history of strong walk rates, but it usually takes him some time to get relaxed enough at the plate to walk. When in a new league Melky simply swings until he gets comfortable and then will begin drawing his walks. That and the other negatives I brought up about Cabrera's performance are fine though, as he is after all a teenager playing in the FSL. My pet prospect Jeff Karstens started the game for Tampa and had a Lieber-esque outing. In 7.1 innings pitched, Karstens allowed 11 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned runs, walked 2, and struck out 4. Though the Battle Creek Yankees lost the war of the actual baseball game, they won the battle for Abel Gomez'...I don't know...control? Gomez was dominant. In 5 innings he allowed 2 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, walked 2 (wow!!!!!!!), and struck out 5. Gomez and Clippard have pitched very well of late and are a great 1-2 right-left rotation combo. Hector Made and Eric Duncan were a combined 1 for 8 with 3 Ks on Saturday. Though Made's performance of late is very encouraging, Duncan's has been the opposite. I once thought he was ready for Tampa, at the least, but now would like to see him spend the entire year in the MWL. While Duncan is an excellent hitter, when he is in a slump they tend to be horrific. He strikes out a ton and makes weak contact. That is what is going on now as Duncan's average has dropped all the way to .275. He needs to move this back up in addition to making his walk to strikeout ratio more encouraging as right now, Duncan's ability to hit for average is facing some questions. Estee "yeah I'm still here" Harris had perhaps the worst night of anyone, 0 for 3 with 3 Ks, but really at this point, what do you expect? Erold Andrus, who is beginning to hit for average, but with no power, was 2 for 4. *** I will cover short-season ball, but not in a daily update way. Look for it to be the occasional blurb about a spectacular performance or important prospect. *** For full time coverage of the SI Yanks, check out the Baby Bombers link to the right. For interesting baseball sites, check out the Baseball Corner link to the right. Finally, if anyone knows why my hits have gone way up lately (I'm not complaining), it'd be great if you told me, as I'm curious. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Monday, June 14, 2004
 
THE BEGINNING Tomorrow is my first day of work for this summer. Since this will take up a large part of my day, updates MAY slow down. I'm not sure exactly how this will work out yet, but I'll do the best I can and your patience would be appreciated. Thanks, on to the update. Jason Anderson and Scott Proctor both worked scoreless outings from the Columbus bullpen. Anderson pitched the 7th and had a clean line. Scott Proctor was a bit wild though. He pitched the 8th and struck out a batter, but he also walked 2. Bubba Crosby led off and got on twice, once by walk and once by a hit by pitch. He also made 2 outs. Andy Phillips also got on base twice; he was 1 for 3 with a single and a hit by pitch. Both of his outs were strikeouts. Unfortunately for Phillips, he also made 2 errors, which gives him 3 errors in his last 2 games played at 2B. Brian Myrow and Jeff Deardorff manned the infield corners and went a combined 0 for 7 with 2 strikeouts. Trenton was shut out 1 to nothing as Robinson Cano made a game losing error. As would be the expected case with a shutout, the offensive prospects did not do much. Cano was 1 for 3 with a double and Navarro was 0 for 3 with a walk. This is just a wild guess, but I think Navarro is about to go on a tear. The double was Cano's 17th of the season. The starting pitcher for the Trenton loss was Sean Henn. Henn went 8 strong innings and limited the offense to 6 hits and no walks while striking out 3. There were no other marks on his line. Henn's productivity, in terms of run and hit prevention, has gone up as of late, though his strikeouts have gone down. This has occurred since he learned the sinking fastball and basically become the AA version of Brad Halsey, but with more fastball zip. It will be interesting to see if the lack of Ks does eventually catch up to him, or if he is the type of pitcher that can succeed like that. The Battle Creek offense pounded out 11 runs and 14 hits on Sunday. Erold Andrus and his newfound patience led the attack. The LF went 3 for 3 with 3 singles and 2 walks. Estee Harris had the big hit of the day and not much else, he was 1 for 5 with a home run and a strikeout while playing CF. Eric Duncan and Hector Made each collected a double. Made's was his 10th and his lone hit in 5 at bats, while striking out once. Duncan's was his 17th and lone hit in 4 at bats while striking out once and drawing one walk. Abel Gomez won the contest, but not in as dominant a fashion as I expected. The left-hander had what is about an average start for him at this point. He went 5.1 innings and allowed 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, walked 3, and struck out 6. Gomez ran his record to 6 and 2, but his ERA has also made it up to 3.11. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Sunday, June 13, 2004
 
NOTHING MUCH Richmond beat Columbus 7 to 2 as Columbus has now lost 5 out of 6. Colter Bean came in relief and continued his recent struggles, as he was uncharacteristically wild. In 2 innings Bean allowed 1 hit, 1 run, 1 earned run, 2 walks, a hit batter, and 5 strikeouts. Obviously, the 5 strikeouts are a plus. Bean's numbers (38.1 innings, 25 hits, 11 runs, 9 earned runs, 1 homer, 11 walks, and 45 strikeouts) are still dominant, but not as overwhelming as they once were. This, combined with the emergence of Bret Prinz at the major league level, means that Bean will likely not be heard from, not that it was likely to happen before. The hitting side of things was OK; Bubba Crosby was 1 for 4 with a single and a strikeout and had the worst night of the notables. Andy Phillips had the best game; the 2B went 2 for 4 with 2 singles and a strikeout as he ended his recent slide. Unfortunately, Phillips also made an error. Jeff Deardorff was 1 for 4 with 2 Ks and Brian Myrow went 1 for 3 with a K while playing 1B. No one really important took the mound in either of Trenton's games yesterday, which means Wang and Henn were inactive. Henn will go today. The Trenton hitters did not do much yesterday. Navarro was 2 for 7 with 2 singles and a walk as he continues to hide his power for whatever reason. Robinson Cano was 1 for 7 with a single. Tampa did not play, of course, because of the All Star Break, and will not play until Monday. Around the time when their roster should begin to undergo some changes. Tyler Clippard took the loss for BC yesterday, but pitched well outside of the second and sixth innings. In those innings he gave up a lot of hits due to not getting as many strike calls as he wanted. Overall, in 5.1 innings pitched, Clippard allowed 8 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 3 walks, and struck out 6. He wasn't great, but he wasn't as bad as the numbers seem. Eric Duncan had an OK night at the plate. The 3B went 1 for 4 with a triple and a strikeout. The triple was his 27th extra base hit of the season, but first outside of the double and homer category. Erold Andrus hit in front of Duncan and showed surprising patience, going 0 for 2 with 2 walks and a strikeout. Estee "waiting for my demotion" Harris was 0 for 3 with a strikeout. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Saturday, June 12, 2004
 
"TIGER" AND THE HAND Apparently, the reason Wang has sucked so much lately is that he is battling blister problems...AGAIN. Kind of like Josh Beckett except without as much talent. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
 
THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE After writing my last post about freeing Brad Halsey, I began to wonder. I began to wonder whether Alex Graman was worthy of as much of a freedom campaign, tonight's start frees me from continuing to consider that. In 5.2 innings, Graman allowed 8 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned runs, 3 walks, and struck out 6. He also gave up 2 homers, and that is the key. Despite having a superior strikeout rate and better hit-prevention numbers, I favor Halsey over Graman for 2 reasons. The first is that Halsey has better control, which is meaningful, though probably not that much. The second reason is that in last night's start, Graman gave up 2 homers, which is twice as many as Halsey has given up all season. If a pitcher is going to get hit, the best he can do is to avoid getting hit hard, and working off of the assumption that major league hitters will do at least a decent job hitting both left-handers, I would rather use the guy with better control who also happens to prevent hard-hit balls. Therefore, the free Brad Halsey campaign shall continue, Alex Graman, on the other hand, will have to wait until someone needs a LOOGY. Jason Anderson, Neo to some, made his return to the Yankee system in relief of Halsey and allowed 2 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 0 walks, and struck out 1. Anderson will likely join Proctor and Bean as they form a right-handed triumvirate sure to baffle AAA hitters while hardly ever getting a glance from the major league organization. The recent offensive suckiness at Columbus was ever present in last night's game. Caonabo Cosme had a "good" game, 0 for 2 with a walk, but other than that, most of the players were off. Bubba Crosby was 0 for 1 in a pinch-hitting appearance and Andy Phillips continued his slump while playing both 1B and 2B, as he was 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout. Jeff Deardorff, 2 for 4 with a double, had the best day of the offensive players of note on the AAA team. Trenton lost, but Dioner Navarro and Robinson Cano had solid games in the same night for what seems like the first time in ages. Navarro only had one hit in 5 at bats, but it was a big one, as the C legged out a triple, his first of the season. At this point, all I am looking for from Navarro is for him to collect extra base hits so he can finish the season in the neighborhood of .300/.400/.450/.293 (AVG/OBP/SLG/GPA). If he can approximate that performance, he has taken a step forward as a prospect, if not, and he stays where he currently is, .285/.370/.390/.264, he will have neither advanced nor hurt his standing. Robinson Cano had an unusual game; he was 3 for 4 with 3 singles. What was unusual about the game was that all 3 of his hits were singles, which is not something that frequently happens with a player sporting an XBH% of 41.8%, which is better than what Scott Rolen had at the same age in the same league, not to spark controversy or anything. The Tampa Yankees did not play a game as their first-half is over and they are in the process of having their all-star weekend. Though they seemed invincible about a month into the season, they did not win their division, but expect them to come back stronger in the second half as they get reinforcements in the form of Eric Duncan and Rudy Guillen (hopefully, on both). Battle Creek did play, and won both games of their doubleheader. The first was won mainly on the strength of Steven White, who after a slow start has really begun to pick up the pace. Though that should be expected from a 23-year-old in the lowest level of full season baseball. White, in the first game, went 7 innings and allowed 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 11 for the complete game victory. If White keeps performing like this, he may take over for Matt DeSalvo in Tampa, assuming DeSalvo is given the promotion he has thus far earned. Battle Creek won the second game 5 to 0, but the starting pitching was not nearly as impressive. Chase Wright went 4 innings and gave up 1 hit while striking out 6, which is great, but he also walked 4, which is horrendous, as he and Abel Gomez continue to battle for the MWL walk championship. Perhaps the best sign from the doubleheader was that Eric Duncan has awoken from his monthly weeklong slump, by going 3 for 6 with his 10th home run of the season. Duncan has lifted his seasonal line back to .284/.383/.502/.298. Estee "I am defying all odds by still being on this team" Harris was 0 for 1 with a walk on the day as his average has now gone all the way down to .211. Erold Andrus was also disappointing, going 0 for 3 with a K to drop to .247 on the year. Hector Made did provide some hope though, as he continues to rescue his walk rate from its early season perils, the SS was 1 for 5 with a single and a walk and now has 12 walks on the season after drawing about 2 in the first month and a half of the season. Look for Tyler Clippard and Abel Gomez to have dominating starts this weekend as the BC Yanks continue their series and these two try to rebound from poor last outings. *** I have a new entry over at Some Calzone. It's about the Mets and recent rumors surrounding some of their prospects and a former Yankee, check it out...if you want to that is. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
Friday, June 11, 2004
 
FREE HIM Free Brad Halsey. With rotation issues cropping up at the major league level, due to Kevin Brown's health and Jose Contreras' ineffectiveness, it makes no sense not to free Brad Halsey sometime in the near future. Halsey had a complete game shutout last night where he allowed 2 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 6. This brings his season totals to: 77 innings, 70 hits, 24 runs, 22 earned runs, 1 home run, 19 walks, and 46 strikeouts. He has pitched 25 consecutive scoreless innings. Brad Halsey should be freed by the Yankees in one of two ways. If they like him enough, they should promote him to the majors, release Felix Heredia, and use Halsey out of the bullpen as a long man and lefty specialist (assuming he gets lefties out). If Contreras or any other rotation issue arises, Halsey can be immediately plugged in and he will already have major league experience to boot. The other path to free Halsey, is if the Yankees do not have enough faith in him, use him as a main part of a package for one of those vaunted "veteran pitchers" the Yankees love to get. Brad Halsey is no sure thing, he still has the K rate issue. Despite this, he has done nothing to dissuade the thought that he could be a potential innings eating middle-of-the-rotation starter, which is valuable. Surely there must be some better use for a 23-year-old left hander excelling at AAA with solid stuff, 88-to-92 MPH fastball and good splitter. Since I last posted about minor league results, much of the Columbus hitting has crapped out. Andy Phillips played 1B yesterday and was 0 for 4 as his average dropped to .338 on the year and is now at .337/.401/.585/.327 (AVG/OBP/SLG/GPA), good numbers, but not as jaw-dropping as they once were. Caonabo Cosme had a good game, 1 for 3 with a single, to raise his average to .245. Jeff Deardorff was 2 for 4 with 2 singles while DHing, and Bubba Crosby was 1 for 3 with a K as he waits for another old Yankee OF to come up lame. Kenny Lofton began his rehab assignment going 1 for 3 with a double from the Trenton leadoff spot. Hitting 3rd, Dioner Navarro continued to drop singles all over the field as he went 1 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout as his average crept up to .287. Navarro also threw out the lone player attempting to steal against him. Robinson Cano also managed a single in his 4 at bats last night and is now hitting a very solid .284. There were no important Trenton pitching performances last night, but the two previous games were started by "Tiger" Wang and Sean Henn, who do hold some importance in the Yankee prospect universe. In his first start since his Contreras-like meltdown, Wang was sub-par. He went 5.2 innings and gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, and struck out 6 as he lowered his ERA to 4.99. Wang has been decent this year, despite his ERA, which is marred by the Contreras outing, but I think he would move more quickly and prove more valuable if placed in the bullpen. I believe this because if moved to the bullpen he would be able to live off of low to mid 90s heat and his splitter rather than focus on developing a better repertoire, plus, he's been great as a reliever in my All-Star Baseball season. Sean Henn made his second start since "discovering" the sinker and was back to mediocrity, 7.1 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned runs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts. Henn now has a 5-2 record and a 3.99 ERA. He is another pitcher that I would love to see converted to the bullpen where he can just rear back and throw mid 90s from the left-side, a unique ability. After Tampa's conclusion of a suspended game loss to the St. Lucie Mets, 7 to 6, Melky Cabrera's average has fallen below .300. In 13 games and 57 at-bats at the A+ level, Cabrera is now hitting .298/.328/.421/.253. The average FSL GPA is .242, so Cabrera is above league average, just not as good as he was in the MWL, which is fine for a teenager playing an up-the-middle position in an Advanced A league. Bronson Sardinha got his singles, 2 for 4, and pushed his average to .329 as he continues to plug along, waiting for the elusive call to AA. Battle Creek did not play yesterday, but the recent performances there can be easily summed up. Eric Duncan is in a slump and the pitching staff has been torn apart by Cardinals' stud Daric Barton. FREE BRAD HALSEY!!! *** Questions, comments, suggestions to fam27@cornell.edu
 
Thursday, June 10, 2004
 
CATCHING UP AGAIN Yeah, I haven't updated since the Draft, but nothing major has changed with the system and I'm not going to update until tomorrow. Tomorrow's update will focus on the games played today and try to catch you up on all the other important happenings. So yeah, see you tomorrow, I promise...and FREE BRAD HALSEY!!! *** Questions, comments, suggestions to fam27@cornell.edu
 
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
 
THE DRAFT, 2004 (DISCLAIMER: The focus of this post is on the first 5 Yankee picks of the draft and random items of note after that. The MLB draft is much too long and much too much of a crapshoot for me to extend myself further, sorry.) Entering the 2004 MLB Draft, the Yankees biggest need was pitching. Though most teams draft on a best player available basis, since many of the players won't develop in time to address a present need, the Yankees entered the 2004 draft with their sights set on pitching, and rightfully so. This was a result of, for better or worse, having plenty of long-term commitments at the major league level. In addition to these long term commitments, the system had decent to good positional prospects in the form of Dioner Navarro, Eric Duncan, Robinson Cano, and Melky Cabrera. On the other hand, the major league rotation would need to be overhauled relatively soon and there was not much in the way of reinforcements coming from the minor league level, as many of the organization's top pitching prospects profiled better as relievers than starters down the road. So, with all that in mind, let's try and get a handle on what took place over the last couple of days. With their first pick in the 2004 draft, the Yankees took HS RHP Philip Hughes. Hughes hails from the amateur baseball hotbed of Southern California. By the time this pick was made, I was angry. Not so much at the pick itself, but at what did not happen. What did not happen was that Drew and Weaver were not available for the Yankees. Both players had been considered for the number 1 pick, but eventually fell due to signability concerns and my hope at the time was that the Yankees could scoop up one of the two. Unfortunately, Anaheim and Arizona took care of that. Once I calmed down about missing out on these two, my issues with Hughes began to arise. I would just like to state that I am not saying Philip Hughes isn't a potential stud, several people think he may be, but there are some concerns I have about him. Most of these concerns revolve around his strikeouts, or lack thereof. Philip Hughes struck out 83 batters in 61 innings. At the high school level, and for a supposed top pitcher, I don't find that total very impressive. Of course this total comes with the caveat that Hughes played in one of the more competitive high school regions, but without much of a standard to compare Hughes' numbers to, I am not impressed. On the other hand, Hughes only walked 3 batters, so his control was there. Combined with some quotes from Hughes about his not striking out that many guys because he'd rather work on his control and delivery, this renewed my hope. Then, I read the BA scouting report that another reason Hughes didn't miss many bats was that his fastball is straight. Hughes could become a star and I may be praising him before this minor league season is out, but as of now, he seems to be an overly risky pick to me. This risk may be more due to the nature of the 2004 draft than anything else though as I think I would have drafted him in the spot as well. After Hughes, is where the draft picture gets fuzzy, or at least, where I begin to disagree with management. With their first choice in the supplemental first round, the Yankees chose Jonathan Poterson. My initial reaction upon hearing this was, "Jon who?" I had no idea who he was, but thanks to the magic of Baseball America I quickly changed from confused to angered. Poterson's calling card as a prospect is that he is a C with a ton of power potential. That seems great, until you realize that Poterson has almost no chance at staying at C, and not "no chance" as in Eric Duncan has little to "no chance" of being able to stay at 3B, but rather "no chance" as in Drew Henson facing Pedro in his prime. In addition to having defensive issues with the position, Poterson, just out of high school, has already had some leg issues. So the Yankees drafted a player that will more likely than not end up in LF or 1B, the positions where you must hit and hit a ton to be productive. Basically they are hedging all their bets on the bat of a high school C, high school Cs, by the way, are the only draft demographic that rival high school RHP in risk. More so than Poterson's personal failings, I was angry about whom the Yankees didn't take with this pick. They had already gotten Philip Hughes in the first round, and I felt the Yankees should have picked up Jay Rainville. That would have given them 2 of the top 5 or so HS RHP in the draft. Rainville ended up going 2 picks after Poterson, to the Twins. Just as Hughes, a more highly though of prospect, has holes, so does Rainville. Though he struck out almost everyone he faced, he pitched at Rocco Baldelli's alma mater, which is not in a great baseball region. As a result of the lack of competition, Rainville did not have much in the way of impressive secondary offerings. Rainville is nothing sure, and probably riskier than Hughes, but I would have taken him over Poterson. With their second supplemental first round pick, the Yankees drafted RHP Jeffrey Marquez, this was another "who" pick for me. Marquez was coming out of JUCO and so I did not know much about him, but once again, thanks to the great folks over at BA I was able to learn about him. Marquez has decent fastball velocity right now and the Yankees obviously think highly of him. With the pick immediately following Marquez, the Yankees chose RHP Brett Smith, a college arm. I didn't mind the pick of Marquez too much, and Smith struck me as a more polished Marquez, so I'm not too upset about that. Since the picks were similar in being RHP who throw in the low 90s I would have liked the Yankees to pass on one of the two, Marquez, and gone for a big time hitter. Other than pitching, the Yankees system also lacks a big time bat, outside of Eric Duncan. The bat I had my eye on was that of Eduardo Martinez-Esteve, who went 70th overall to the Giants. According to the work of Craig Burley, Martinez-Esteve was the 7th best hitter in college baseball this past season, better than teammate Stephen Drew. I think that is enough justification. The fifth pick made by the Yankees on draft day was Christian Garcia. Garcia is a prep RHP without much experience. Despite being very raw, Garcia attracted attention because of a fastball that reaches the mid 90s and projects to the upper 90s. This was one pick where I was surprised, but happily so. Though, as previously stated. HS RHP are risky, I think the Yankees did a good job here of getting an arm that doesn't have a ton of mileage on it, but is still good. The key will be the ability of the player development personnel to harness Garcia's ability. I think this could be the key pick made by the Yankees. While I, unlike many sabermetrically inclined Yankee fans, was not upset by the drafting of tons of inexperienced RHP, I WAS upset by a couple of the guys the Yankees passed over, and that is reflected in the different choices I made. So I agree with the high-risk high reward strategy that the Yankees took, but not the overall execution. To review, the Yankees top 5 picks were Hughes, Poterson, Marquez, Smith, and Garcia. Were I in charge, I would have gone Hughes, Rainville, Smith, Martinez-Esteve, and Garcia. It will be interesting to keep track of each group to see who looks better down the road. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to fam27@cornell.edu
 
 
LOWER LEVELS Tampa, like Trenton, only managed 2 games during my period of silence. Both games were disappointing for me because of the performances of Matt DeSalvo and Jeffrey Karstens, two pitchers whom I have been quick to praise. Logically, DeSalvo's start should be his last at the A+ level because the ASB and end of the first half is approaching, but after a poor outing the Yanks may not promote him, it is still unclear at this point. DeSalvo went 6 innings and gave up 7 hits, 4 runs, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, and struck out 4. He also served up his first homer of the season. DeSalvo's last 2 starts have suffered due to his lack of control, something that bothered him early in the season, but had seemingly been conquered. Despite these recent issues, I still think DeSalvo has proven himself worthy of promotion and it will be disappointing if he does not report to AA Trenton after the All-Star Break. Karstens, on the other hand, definitely has some more work to do at the A+ level, and should remain there for the foreseeable future. At 21-years-old, it is not as though he is too much too old for the level either. In Monday's game, Karstens was very hittable as he gave up 10 hits, 5 runs, 5 earned runs, 2 walks, and only struck out 2 in 6 innings of work. His ERA ballooned to 4.02. Melky Cabrera and Bronson Sardinha weren't their usual hot-hitting selves over the 2 game period. Cabrera was only 2 for 8 with a double and 3 Ks. Melky has now struck out 10 times, in comparison to 2 walks, in 54 at bats. The patience needs to return and do so quickly. Sardinha was 1 for 8 with a single and 3 Ks. Bronson is now hitting 4th, right behind Melky, and were it not for the Marlins using Lenny Harris in the meat of the order, Bronson would qualify as one of the least feared "power" hitters in organized baseball. Only 14 of his 71 hits have gone for extra bases, but despite this he has still put together a good season due to his advanced strike zone judgment, if he is not promoted along with DeSalvo that would be disappointing. Battle Creek has been the most disappointing Yankee affiliate over the "silent stretch". Hector Made was 2 for 12 with 6 Ks, though he did hit a homer, and Eric Duncan was 2 for 11 with 2 walks and 4 Ks. That's almost too much negativity from the team that has been the shining light for the system, but there's more. Witness Estee Harris' 0 for 7 with a walk and 2 Ks and the performances of the pitching staff...have left a lot to be desired. Tyler Clippard pitched on Saturday, but unfortunately for him, had none of his trademark command/control and against the best hitting team in the MWL and without a blazing fastball, that is not a recipe for success. The results, 5 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, and 1 strikeout, were not shocking, though they were still disappointing. Facing the same team, Abel Gomez did not fare much better. Gomez also went 5 innings, giving up 6 hits, 5 runs, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, and striking out 3. For good measure, Gomez threw in 3 homers. About the only positive for Battle Creek during the stretch was the hitting of Erold Andrus. The OF was 4 for 13 with 3 singles, a double, and 2 Ks. *** Draft review next time. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to fam27@cornell.edu
 
Monday, June 07, 2004
 
DRAFT DAY FATIGUE The draft hasn't gone exactly as I would have liked (comments section of the last post), but that will be discussed more tomorrow. For now, it's time to get updated on what the guys who are actually in the system have been doing. In the Columbus Clippers last 3 games, 2 pitchers of significance have started. Brad Halsey went on Saturday and Alex Graman went on Sunday. Both left-handers were able to pick up victories to run their records to 5 and 2. Halsey went 6 innings and allowed 7 hits while striking out 7. There were no other blemishes on the left-hander's line as he has now lowered his ERA to 2.91, Brad is demanding attention from the front office right now, whether that results in being traded or given a shot remains to be seen. Though Graman had a quality start on Sunday, it was not his best work. He went 6 innings and allowed 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, walked 5, and struck out 4. Graman also gave up 2 homers. His ERA rose to 2.22. At fault for this less than stellar outing was Graman's control, something he has had problems with in the past. The other pitchers of note to take the mound over the 3 game stretch were Scott Proctor and Colter Bean. Proctor went 1 inning and allowed 2 hits and a strikeout. Bean had a dominant outing on Sunday and then was bad on Monday. Overall, in 4 innings of work, the right-hander allowed 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, and struck out 2. Despite having had 2 poor outings in the past week or so, I still have faith that Bean could be potentially useful as at least a right-handed specialist. Offensively, the biggest story of late for Columbus has been Andy Phillips' discovery of the walk. The H (for hitter, defensive positions don't apply to him) has gone 1 for 9 with his sole hit being a homer, but more importantly, has drawn 4 walks compared to just 1 strikeout as he continues to complete his offensive package. Trenton only had 2 games, their Sunday contest was rained out, and Navarro and Cano alternated good games. On Saturday, Cano went 2 for 4 with 2 singles and the always-appreciated walk, while Navarro was 1 for 5 with 2 Ks. Then, Monday's contest saw Navarro go 3 for 4 with 2 singles and a double, while Cano was 0 for 4 with a K. The results of the Monday contest are especially relevant to me because I was able to watch the game, thanks to the wonders of YES and Minor League Mondays, and came away with several impressions. Robinson Cano, despite the improved walk numbers, is still quite a hacker. He was at the plate attempting to kill every pitch, which may be justifiable considering he has 26 extra base hits, but that type of approach will hurt at the big league level. It is a wonder and a possible statement of his natural abilities that he does not strike out more than he does. Defensively, I was very impressed with Cano. He looked like a grizzled veteran in the field, and not in the slow, plodding way, but in the way of a calm demeanor. He handled his chances cleanly and showed good range and awareness. As impressive as Cano was in the field, Navarro was equally outstanding at the plate. He took a couple of imprudent swings, but for the most part was able to lay off pitcher's pitches and attack his pitches. From the left side it appears that he loves the ball down. When Navarro did swing, two things became apparent to me. One was that his bat seemed much quicker than I remembered as there were points where I didn't know if he had taken a full cut or just checked his swing because it went by so quickly. On the "negative" side, his swing does not seem to be made for much home runs as it was more of a line drive swing, though that is acceptable from a 20-year-old. Also, watching Navarro field, I cannot help but get visions of Pudge Rodriguez. *** Tampa and Battle Creek, in addition to a draft review, tomorrow. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to fam27@cornell.edu
 
Sunday, June 06, 2004
 
STORM CONCLUDING EARLY For some time now I have been hinting, rather talking, about a draft preview. I wanted to give a general idea of where the Yankees would/should go with their draft picks. However, it is now less than 24 hours from the draft, and the number one pick, and a lot of draft selections, are more up in the air than usual. This has created a ripple effect and I now have no real idea of how this one is going to shake out. As a result, I'm going to save myself the time and trouble and not do a draft preview. Sorry about that. For great draft coverage, just head over to Baseball America. I'll be back later today with normal coverage. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
Saturday, June 05, 2004
 
SECOND STORM BREAK Columbus had one of the best days of the Yankee affiliates, in terms of what was done by the potentially useful players. Scott Proctor was his usual self, pitching 2 dominant innings of relief where his line was clean except for 2 strikeouts. Offensively, everyone was at least decent. Andy Phillips was 1 for 4 with a double, which is a pretty poor game for him, Bryan Myrow was 1 for 3 with a double and a walk, Jeff Deardorff was 2 for 4 with 2 singles and Caonabo Cosme continued to destroy his early season work by going 0 for 3 with a walk. No pitchers of note were in action for Trenton, but the offensive duo played. Dioner Navarro's hot streak is almost certainly over, as the C went 0 for 4 and his average has dropped to .284. Without his usual extra base power, Navarro needs to hit .300+ to truly be a great contributor to the Trenton offense. Robinson Cano is apparently not done yet; the 2B had his best game in some time, as he was 2 for 4 with 2 singles and a walk. Considering that the game was played away from home, my suspicions about Cano's possible home/away splits are growing. The Tampa Yankees shook up their batting order last night and things seemed to work out well. As a team, they pounded out 18 hits and 13 runs. Melky Cabrera, moved to the 3 spot, was 2 for 5 with 2 singles and Bronson Sardinha, the new and unlikely number 4 hitter, went 3 for 4 with a walk. Even the long forgotten Ferdin Tejada managed to have a good day; the soft "hitting" SS was 2 for 5 with 2 RBI and 2 singles. The 21-year-old now has 6 hits in 44 at bats for Tampa. Battle Creek also had a strong offensive night, as a team they had 4 runs and 14 hits. Unfortunately, Eric Duncan was left out on the action, he was 0 for 5 with 2 strikeouts and is definitely mired in a slump right now as his average has dropped from .310 to .286. Erold Andrus, Hector Made, and Estee Harris managed good nights though. Andrus was leading off again and was 2 for 4 with 2 singles and a sacrifice. Made hit second and was 2 for 5 with a double and his resurgence continues. Estee "It's a wonder I've yet to be demoted" Harris stopped his slump, at least momentarily, by going 2 for 2 with a sac fly and a hit by pitch. Steven White had the best night on the Battle Creek Yanks. White pitched 7 innings and limited his opponents to 3 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, walked 3 and struck out 10. White also gave up a homer. This was the first outing where White has really looked like the Baylor standout the Yankees thought they were getting. The key for him was limiting his walks. *** The storm continues next post...probably... *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
Friday, June 04, 2004
 
THE STORM (PART 4): THE LIST 1. Eric Duncan 2. Dioner Navarro 3. Melky Cabrera 4. Robinson Cano 5. Tyler Clippard 6. Bronson Sardinha 7. Abel Gomez 8. Brad Halsey 9. Jeffrey Karstens 10. Metthew DeSalvo Let me know what you think in comments. I'm going to try and push out some more content today too, but I won't guarantee anything, because I'm almost exhausted. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
 
THE STORM (PART 3): THE RISING The following prospects won't necessarily be in the new top 10, but they are guys that have been hot as of late, or have performed well enough to enhance their status within the organization. Brad Halsey, SP, 23, AAA Columbus (Name, Position, Age, Level) I placed Halsey on my preseason based on his peripherals improving for the most part once he was promoted to AA last year. Then this year he started off somewhat rough in AAA and I pretty much gave up on him. Perhaps I was too quick to do that. While Halsey still isn't fooling too many batters, only 33 Ks in 62 innings, he is doing everything else you want a pitching prospect to do. He is decent at limiting hits, 61, but has excellent control, 17 walks, and is incredibly good at avoiding the long ball, 1 thus far. Though I am still weary because of the K rate, I don't think I would mind the Yankees giving Halsey a shot at some point this season if Jose Contreras continues to struggle. He could turn out to be a serviceable innings eating back of the rotation starter, which is what Freddy Garcia, the guy the Yankees are often rumored to be after, is. In addition, he wouldn't cost Navarro. If Contreras does pitch as I think he can, Halsey may be able to replace Lieber in next year's rotation, though that is not likely considering the Yankees general reluctance with young players. STOCK: Up Jeffrey Karstens, SP, 21, A+ Tampa Karstens, has come from relative obscurity to establish himself as one of the organization's better pitching prospects. His last start, which was bad, has messed his numbers up a bit, but Karstens is still doing everything well enough. He has slightly more hits than innings pitched and less than a strikeout per inning, and has not kept the ball in the park as much as you would like. Despite all this, I am impressed by his control and coming from the University of Texas aids in that it shows he has at least a decent baseball pedigree. All of Karstens numbers should improve as the season progresses and it will be interesting to see if he gets promoted to AA, though it wouldn't be any great fault on the Yankees part to allow him to spend the entire year in Tampa. STOCK: Up Matthew DeSalvo, SP, 23, A+ Tampa Though Karstens has been good for Tampa; his contributions have been overshadowed by those of Matt DeSalvo, who is in desperate need of a promotion. DeSalvo was an excellent college pitcher, the all-time leader in career wins and strikeouts, but did not get much attention as a prospect. This was probably due to missing a year with a knee injury, in addition to being a short right-handed pitcher. Apparently, enough teams felt that was enough to overcome his body of work and low to mid 90s fastball. The Yankees were able to sign him as a 5th year senior and since then he has been nothing short of spectacular, especially this year. Consider that DeSalvo has more strikeouts than hits and walks put together and has yet to allow a homer. At this point, DeSalvo has two faults. The first, which is out of his control, is that he is a 23-year-old in A+, which puts a damper on what he has accomplished. The second is within his...control. DeSalvo has walked 24 men in 62.1 innings, which while not ridiculously high, is higher than ideal. If DeSalvo is promoted to AA, which I think will happen in a week's time, and continues to tear through the opposition, look for him to begin getting a lot more press and just remember where you heard about him first. STOCK: Up Hector Made, SS, 19, A- Battle Creek I considered putting Made on the preseason top 10 list, but at the end of the day I decided that he didn't dominate the GCL and the things I was high on him for, patience and power, were not necesarily going to transfer to full season baseball. Well, Made is starting to transfer those. He began the season hitting pretty much all singles, but since May 9th he has begun throwing in extra base hits and walks. In fact, since that date, over the course of 86 plate appearances, he has hit .307/.372/.440/.277 (AVG/OBP/SLG/GPA). That is obviously much better than his seasonal line of .268/.314/.340/.226. Due to the marked improvement in plate patience and discipline, which is also evident in his at bats, I am apt to believe that this represents a real change in ability for Made. Defensively, Made has had the classic young SS problem of spectacular play one time, boot an easy play next time, but overall he has been more consistent than I thought he would be. Perhaps my standards were too low. STOCK: Up *** The storm still isn't over... *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
 
BRIEF STORM BREAK Yesterday, as my former Physics teacher would say, was a "below average" day for Yankee prospects and hopefuls. Most of them struggled and the struggles begin at AAA Columbus, with their band of replacement players. Columbus was absolutely destroyed 13 to 2. Buffalo scoring 13 runs against Columbus included Colter Bean having his worst outing of the year. Bean simply did not have his control yesterday, which is something that a guy with a fastball in the 80s needs. In 1.2 innings, Bean gave up 5 hits, 5 runs, 3 earned runs, walked 1, struck out none, hit a batter, and threw a wild pitch. That is an ugly line, but considering how well he has pitched all year, I'm willing to brush it off as an anomaly. The fact that Bryan Myrow had the best day of the replacement level All Stars by going 1 for 3 with a single and a walk is very telling. DH Andy Phillips was held in check, something that does not happen often, as he was 0 for 3 with a walk. As I said yesterday, it is nice to see the walk. 3B Jeff Deardorff was 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts and Caonabo Cosme, showed up my slight optimism from yesterday, by going 0 for 4. Trenton lost 8 to 7 as "Tiger" Wang did his best Jose Contreras impression. The start was Wang's worst of the season, and possibly his career, as he allowed 8 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned runs, and a walk while striking out none...in .2 innings pitched. Dioner Navarro was the DH and went 0 for 4 with a hit by pitch, his worst offensive performance in quite some time. Robinson Cano had what has to be considered a great game for him at this point; the 2B was 2 for 5 with 2 singles. Hopefully, Cano will get hot and get his average back up to the .300 range as he is now sitting at .282. This is an off the cuff observation, but Cano seems to hit better on the road. I'll try and look into this somewhere down the line. Tampa was yet another Yankee affiliate to lose their game yesterday, they did so by a score of 8 to 3. A large part of the problem, at least offensively, were the numbers 2 and 3 hitters, they combined to go 2 for 9 with 2 singles and 3 Ks. Melky Cabrera was the worse of the duo, going 1 for 5 with 2 Ks, but this Giambi kid was not much better. Playing 1B he was 1 for 4 with a strikeout and with a .167 average, has not been very impressive. While Bronson Sardinha had a good game at the plate, 2 for 4 with 2 singles, his defensive problems grew, as he made 3 errors. Sardinha's bat probably profiles better at 3B than it did in CF, but I wonder why the Yankees ended that experiment. The OF is the only position where Sardinha has not been a butcher, and while LF would have asked for too much from him offensively, CF seemed about right. This, of course, is all a moot point if Sardinha just did not have the speed to play CF, which is what I suspect. To cap off a minor league day full of losing, Battle Creek lost to Dayton by the score of 2 to 9. Elvys Quezada continued to be under whelming, outside of the no-hitter, as he pitched 4 innings and allowed 4 hits, 5 runs, 4 earned runs, walked 3, and struck out 7. Last season I was impressed watching Quezada at Staten Island and figured he could have a shot to be a decent prospect, assuming that he started at Tampa. Well, Quezada got injured, started at Battle Creek, and is struggling, there goes that theory. The worst part of the Battle Creek team's effort yesterday was the "offense", which managed 3 hits and 2 runs. Eric Duncan has slumped all the way down to .291 as he was 0 for 3 with a strikeout, though he did manage to draw a walk. Duncan also made his first error in quite some time. Erold Andrus, moved all the way up to 7th, was 0 for 3 with a strikeout. It is somewhat sad that Hector Made, who was 0 for 2 with a walk, had the most encouraging night. The walk is why his night was encouraging as Made continues to regain the patience that made him an exciting prospect last year. *** More post(s) are coming today as the storm continues, after a brief interruption... *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
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    Alfonso Soriano

    Batting Average:.279
    On-Base Percentage:.322
    Slugging Percentage:.464
    Gross Production Avg:.261

    Alex Rodriguez

    Batting Average:.284
    On-Base Percentage:.372
    Slugging Percentage:.536
    Gross Production Avg:.301

    Nick Johnson

    Batting Average:.258
    On-Base Percentage:.365
    Slugging Percentage:.404
    Gross Production Avg:.265

    Javier Vazquez

    Earned Run Average:4.16
    Strikeouts:111
    Walks:37
    Home Runs:23

    Brandon Claussen

    Earned Run Average:4.02
    Strikeouts:9
    Walks:7
    Home Runs:2