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Thursday, September 30, 2004
 
'SPLAININ As you probably notice, there is now an ad at the top of the site. I know some people out there probably hate ads with a passion, but I hope that those of you who do don't stop reading my site because of it. This was what I felt to be a good decision on my part and I hope everyone is understanding. Thank you and that is all. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
 
OFFENSIVE PROSPECT OF THE YEAR: '04 To be truthful, going into the process of choosing this award, I thought there were only two contenders worth considering. In my mind this award was going to clearly be a battle between Melky Cabrera and Eric Duncan, keeping in mind that the award should go to the offensive prospect who had the best year in my opinion. Then when I went into the process of analyzing the performances I realized that there was another viable contender. Not only was he a viable contender, he legitimately deserved the award, so without further ado I present the MYBOPotY: Robinson Cano, 2B, 21, AA Trenton/AAA Columbus Duncan, Cabrera, etc. lovers, please hear me out. Detractors of Cano's year will point out several valid concerns that I agree with. The most obvious would be that he started out on fire, posting an OPS in the 1.000 range into May and then cooled off considerably. While it would have been great for Cano to keep that pace up, and if he had done it he would be arguably a top 10 prospect in baseball, it was unrealistic. What is important is to look at what he DID manage to do. After spending the end of May through the early portions of mid-June tailing off Cano found his game and was able to raise his average from .285 to .301 in his final week at AA. A huge part of sorting through prospects is finding players who make adjustments and crediting them for that adjustment. Cano started out on fire and the league adjusted to him, making him a non-factor in the AA lineup for some time until he was able to re-adjust to the league. To be cautious, it should still be noted that that final adjustment by Cano was in a very small sample size. The other point that is often made against him is that in addition to tailing off in comparison to how he started his '04 AA stint, he also tailed off in AAA. I don't think it's as simple as that. As the numbers cited above show Cano maintained the same control of the strike zone, which is very important, but lost a lot of his power and BA. Digging further one will see that it's not as simple as that. The lost power that Cano experienced was in terms of doubles and triples as he actually increased his home run rate from once every 41.7 AA at bats to once every 36 AAA at bats. Meanwhile his doubles and triples per at bat went from once every 10.4 AA at bats to once every 19.6 AAA at bats. So, what happened here? As Baseball Prospectus and others have shown, aspects of the game where the defense comes into play, singles, doubles, and triples in this case, are prone to fluctuation. In other words, noting Cano's improved over-the-fence power and maintained plate discipline/patience it becomes apparent that perhaps some of his decline was hitting in front of better defense's rather than through some fault of his own. While I will give him the benefit of the doubt on this, readers of the site who were regular attendees at Clippers' games can share observations on whether or not he seemed to be a victim of the "ol' attem ball" since that is what the statistical evidence seems to point to. The other negative to consider with Cano's AAA performance is that he started off incredibly hot, going 8 for his first 10 and then seemed lost for a long period, which once again points to him being figured out by a league's pitchers. Then, just like in AA, he closed his stint on a brief hot streak that points to a possible readjustment on his part; including the playoffs, Cano was 10 for his last 21. As evidenced by my feelings about the most glaring negatives of Robinson Cano's game, I do like him as a prospect. He was always a favorite of mine for his 2002 season and coming into this year I promised to be more positive about him if "he corrects either the plate discipline or power 'problems'". Apparently, he has and his reward for that is the 2004 MYBOPotY. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Monday, September 27, 2004
 
PITCHING PROSPECT OF THE YEAR: '04 Halfway through the season it seemed as though Matt DeSalvo would run away with this award. Unfortunately, his season was derailed by back injuries following a promotion to AA. With him gone the field seemed much more open, that is until Brad Halsey went on a season ending tear. With his struggles in the major leagues fresh in the minds of many, it may seem like a reach to name Halsey the pitching prospect of the year, but based on my criteria, there was no other choice. Despite the lack of overwhelming physical talent, Halsey was able to put up the best pitching performance of anyone in the system and at an age where he can be considered a legitimate prospect. What he is a legitimate prospect to become still remains to be seen. At the very least, his big league performance thus far warrants him consideration as a lefty arm out of someone's bullpen and if he can develop in the bigs like he did over the course of the AAA season he could be a decent 3 or 4. Brad Halsey, LHP, 23, AAA Columbus Overall, the lefty had an outstanding season that was actually 4 parts. When the season opened it seemed that Halsey was overmatched at AAA as he sported a hefty 6.53 ERA in April. Coming on the heels of a middling 2003, when hits allowed are given heavy consideration, Halsey seemed destined to return to AA. Fortunately for him, something clicked and he went on a tear that eventually led to his promotion to the ML level. After that brief stint in the majors Halsey returned to the minors and upon his return once again struggled. After giving up only 2 homers in his first 80+ AAA innings, Halsey began letting the long balls fly, before once again finding his self. This time, when he righted the ship, not only was Halsey not allowing the opposition to score, he was also striking out more than his fair share of batters to conclude the minor league season. In the grand scheme of evaluating players, this may mean nothing as every player has their different ups and downs through the course of a season, but it may mean something in Halsey's case. Based on how he performed in April and in the middle of the summer upon returning to AAA it would seem that Halsey is not one to quickly adjust to changes in leagues/hitters. This would seem to go hand-in-hand with his less than great stuff as he would need to learn leagues/hitters in order to take advantage of what he does have, which is good control and decent secondary pitches. I'm sure most readers of this blog know where I'm going by now, but I'll say it outright nonetheless. The Yankees should give Brad Halsey a shot. To those that say he has been given a shot, what he was given was not a shot. It was more like an opportunity to start a game. Giving him a shot would entail Joe Torre trusting him to stay in games when options include bringing in someone from the Circus of Ridiculously Atrocious Pitchers that is the back end of the Yankee bullpen. Giving him a shot would entail perhaps working him into a situation where he can be tested as a potential playoff LOOGY when you, the manager, are determined to have one and thus far big league lefties have "3" hits off him in 26 at bats. 2 of those hits were gifts to David Ortiz courtesy of the Yankees outfield defense. I've given up on him having a shot this year, but with next year's rotation being potentially more injury-susceptible than this year's Halsey should at least be with the team from the start and take the Ramiro Mendoza role of year's past. Just somehow get him on the team as it's inefficient use of resources to keep him at a level that he has demonstrated he is better than in addition to the fact that the bullpen isn't compromised of a bunch of worldbeaters. In the end, though Halsey does not have the highest ceiling of the main competitors he had for this award (it came down to him, Abel Gomez, and Tyler Clippard in my mind), his performance and assurance of being worth an ML role with some team somewhere makes him both a safe and solid pick. Oh yeah, and to put his '04 performance into more perspective, Baseball Prospectus, the premier number crunchers on the internet, have a system of rating pitching prospects. In that system, "STUFF", a pitcher gets a rating based on his peripheral numbers and age. Brad Halsey's 2004 was given a 31 on a scale where above 30 is considered "truly elite". *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Sunday, September 19, 2004
 
COMEBACK PROSPECT OF THE YEAR: '04 (I apologize for any font inconveniences ahead of time. If you have any suggestions please post them in Comments or e-mail me) *Ahem*. The purpose of the Comeback Prospect of the Year award is to commemorate that prospect that was highly thought of in the past, only to see his stock plummet, before rising again. With this in mind, the award does not necessarily have to go to a player with great performance or who projects to be an All-Star, just one who did a lot to re-establish some of the stock he formerly possessed. Without further ado, the Minor Yankee Blog Comeback Prospect of the Year '04 (or MYBCPotY'04 for short) is... Bronson Sardinha, 3B, 21, A+ Tampa/AA Trenton First things first, Bronson Sardinha is a 3B in the same way that if you put Jason Giambi at SS, he'd be a SS. 43 errors in 118 games at the hot corner will do that for your defensive rep, not that he had much of one to begin with considering his career has seen him go SS to LF to CF to LF to 3B. Defensive contributions aside, Sardinha broke his mold in '04 and that's what led to arguably his best pro season. For those of you out of the know, the mold for Sardinha had been to struggle initially at a level leading to demotion before finding himself ('03) or just taking a really long time to find himself ('02). In '04 Sardinha got out of the gate very quickly and did enough to maintain himself that had he spent more time in the FSL, his BA would have placed 2nd. The most confusing aspect of the year was the general lack of power that Sardinha displayed. While he's never been a big time power prospect, '04 saw Sardinha become a singles hitter in the FSL before rediscovering his power stroke somewhat in the EL. The power rediscovery is somewhat tempered by the average FSL IsoP being .118 and the average EL IsoP being .147. To be completely fair to Sardinha, Tampa has historically been a roughly neutral FSL park and that trend continued through the first 100 or so games of the season meanwhile Trenton, which is also historically neutral, became overwhelmingly pitcher-favored through the season's first 100 games. As more postseason statistical ratings come out, this picture will be clearer. When he did regain that power his BA went down. Due to the inconsistent nature of BA I am not too worried about that development though an increase in strikeout rate does make it more worrisome. The key for Sardinha going forward will be to consolidate his '04 stints. He needs to continue showing the strike zone control and BA-prowess that he had in the FSL, while hitting for at least his AA power. Bronson does have some time on his hands though as he will most likely start the year in AA and turn 22 in the first same month. For comparison's sake, Jeremy Reed, who was a consensus top 15 prospect in baseball this past offseason attained that status on the strength of an outstanding year split between A+ and AA at the age of 22. Not to insinuate Sardinha is the same caliber of prospect, but he does bear some similarities in that his likely future is as an OF corner, he controls the strike zone, and has less than optimal power for a corner. Sardinha would also seem to be ahead of Reed at the same stage, though I doubt he will have a year like Reed's '03. I think the most likely future for Sardinha is that he has another good year, maybe getting some September exposure and will eventually settle into a pinch-hitting or platoon role on a better team due to his lack of power. If the power comes, he could have a more pronounced role. Overall, I still see Sardinha as a John Vander Wal type of player though. Very useful in short stretches, handy if someone goes down due to injury, but not great enough to play an everyday role. *** There will be no formal schedule for the awards, I will post them as soon as I have time to write them and I encourage feedback, both positive and negative. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
 
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Well, as far as the Yankee minor league affiliates are concerned, the 2004 season is now officially in the books. To summarize, Columbus was a huge success as they had their first winning season in a while despite being knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. Trenton was a disappointment as their season was just perpetually frustrating due to a combination of pitching injuries and general ineffectiveness. Tampa had a great season in terms of prospect talent and performance that concluded in their being named the FSL co-champions and Battle Creek had a great season as they started off very rough due to being the youngest team in their league, but finished the year with an above .500 record and just barely missing the playoffs. As for the short-season leagues, SI was shockingly bad and the GCL Yankees were a dominant force in their league leading to a GCL championship. From the postseason series that the Yankee affiliates were involved in, Robinson Cano was the most impressive player, the 2B capped his eye-opening '04 with a 7 for 13 playoff stint. Now, about what will happen with this site. Daily updates, which were becoming increasingly rare, will now be a thing of the past as the minor league offseason begins. I will keep you updated on the AFL when that starts in the next few weeks as well as on winter league performances when those leagues begin. Until and during that span of time I'm going to be putting a lot of work into a new Top X Yankee prospect list, the final one of the year. I'm not sure how many prospects I will list, but at this point, 20-25 seems about right. You will want to keep an eye out for that towards the end of the year. I'm also going to hand out some organizational hardware. Look for Pitching Prospect of the Year, Offensive Prospect of the Year, Comeback Prospect of the Year, and Breakout Prospect of the Year awards. In addition, I will create an all Yankee Prospect 1st Team. Hopefully, you're as excited about reading about these things as I am about researching and publishing them. One more thing I am considering doing is looking back at big Yankee prospects of the past and trying to see why they failed or whether or not it could have been predicted. In addition, I may look back at guys on the current Yankee squad and see how they have performed thus far in their career compared to how one would have felt about their ceiling as they progressed through the minors. I'm undecided about this though, so if you could give me some feedback as to whether or not you would like to see that, that'd be great. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, congratulations to Dioner Navarro on his major league hit. Navarro, batting RH, singled to left last night on the second pitch of his first career major league AB. Hopefully that is the first of many. Navarro's hit was the highlight of an awful night that saw Brad Halsey perform poorly once more, though Joe Torre made a questionable move in pulling him so early in my opinion. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Monday, September 06, 2004
 
AMAZEMENT As a result of the injury to Kevin Brown, Chien-Ming Wang and Brad Halsey are reportedly going to get shots at key roles down the stretch for the Yankees. This is just absolutely stunning news. It is somewhat saddening that it would take this extreme an occurrence for the organization to go with some youth, but encouraging in that instead of just one, they're planning on using both. Halsey will assume Brown's spot in the rotation and Wang will move into the bullpen as a long man. This move is huge for Halsey especially, because there is not much downside for him and a ton of upside. If he falters, the blame will not fall completely on his shoulders, but rather, Brown will just be blamed more heavily. If he succeeds, then I think he will have a '05 rotation spot locked up, which is what I have been hoping for for sometime. Just a good move by the organization and for both guys, I wish them the best of luck. The other side of this situation, of course, is that the Columbus Clippers just lost their starters for games 1 and 2 of the playoffs, and are in all likelihood dead in the water. This is despite their winning 2 of their last 3 games, none of which were started by the aforementioned duo, obviously. In the course of those 3 games, Robinson Cano has managed to end the regular season on a positive note by going 4 for 10, all singles, with a walk and no strikeouts. So, in 216 AAA at bats, he hit .259 while collecting 9 doubles, 2 triples, and 6 home runs to go along with an 18:27 BB:K ratio. All around it was a solid AAA debut for the 21-year-old and might be enough to get him a job as the better half of a '05 2B platoon. Trenton was 2-2 in their final 4 games of the season and Bronson Sardinha ended his year on a sour note. In his final work before a month layoff preceding the AFL season, Sardinha could only manage to go 0 for 6 with 1 walk and 1 strikeout. Sardinha's initial foray in AA was better than he has historically done at new levels, but still not anything to write home about as he hit .267 in 266 at bats with 11 doubles, 1 triple, 6 homer, 37 walks and 65 strikeouts. Sardinha, 22, will likely start '05 back in Trenton, barring an annihilation of the AFL. In the first of the 4-game swing, Sean Henn had the type of start that garners the attention of those still faithful to him. The left-hander put up a line of 7-5-2-1-1-6-1-. This start was still too little too late, in my opinion and his seasonal line is still only 163.1-173-94-80-63-118-11. The only one of those numbers that is encouraging is the HR-rate. Also, with that many innings pitched and considering his injury history, if the Yankees are really seriously considering sending Henn to the AFL, I am almost certain he will get hurt. Battle Creek's playoff aspirations came to a sudden halt on the final day of the season, but they were still the most successful team in the Yankee organization in some time. Why do I say that? They started the season as the youngest team in their league and throughout the year maintained a very young squad. Usually, when a squad is so young, they struggle, and this was the case early on, but the BC players ended the season well. The goal of a minor league operation is to develop talent for the ML and, in some cases, win. BC did a combination of this better than any Yankee affiliate. If you want proof, just observe their record and note the names that passed through: Erold Andrus, Melky Cabrera, Hector Made, Eric Duncan, Tyler Clippard, Abel Gomez, etc. The '05 Low-A team will have a lot to live up to. Oh yeah, as for what actually took place over the last 3 games, they won 2 and lost the season ender. Had they won the season ender, they still would not have made the playoffs since the team they were competing against won their game and they needed a loss. The best prospect news to come out of the stretch drive was that Hector Made and Erold Andrus both reached .290. It was actually .291 for Andrus, to be exact. Made reached the goal by going 7 for 14 with 2 walks and a strikeout, all of his hits were singles. Andrus reached .291 by going 6 for 13 with a walk and 3 strikeouts; all of his hits were also singles. Neither player's season ending totals will look THAT impressive, however, the context of their production is critical as both guys got better as the season went on, especially in terms of plate patience/discipline. Both should begin '05 in Tampa and look to make Trenton by the end of the year. One potential member of the '05 Low-A team is Jeff Marquez. Marquez had arguably the best debut of any '04 draftee, despite ending the season on a sour note. The CC product seemed to tire towards the end of the season and that trend continued in the last SI game of the year. Marquez could only go 4-9-4-3-2-4-0. Still, his 50.2-51-26-17-20-36-2 NYPL run in his age-19 season was very impressive. Look for Marquez to have a big '05. Estee Harris and Tim Battle should both be teammates with Marquez once again in '05. Neither OF had a great game in their final '04 outing though. Harris was the better of the two; he was 1 for 4 with a single, while Battle was 0 for 4 with a walk and 2 strikeouts. Harris is the older of the two, by one baseball year, and had the better NYPL stint, but I actually feel safer about Battle entering next season. Both guys have a ton of talent though and should be watched closely. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@blogspot.com
 
Saturday, September 04, 2004
 
HE'S ON FIRE!!! NBA Jam was a great game, and like the exceptionally effective characters in that game, "Tiger" Wang has officially reached "he's on fire" status. Wang had perhaps his most dominant start in what has been a stellar AAA stint by going 9-7-0-0-2-8-0 on Friday night. His overall AAA numbers are now 40.1-31-9-9-8-35-3. This recent stretch is Wang's most dominant since owning the NYPL a while back. It has been so good that Wang has gone from being amongst the "dead" Yankee pitching prospects, in my mind, to moving near the front of the class. When the IL-playoffs are over, I would like to see him get a shot in the bigs. Another starter that has been as dominant as Wang is Brad Halsey, albeit with lesser physical talent. As far as my feelings about Halsey's ML aspirations, those are well known, so I would just like to take the time to point out that on Thursday he went 6-1-1-0-4-7-0. His final AAA regular season line is 144-128-46-42-37-109-8. Performance-wise, I have no complaints. Robinson Cano was 0 for 4 with a strikeout in the Halsey game. That Navarro was promoted without much hand wringing and Cano is still in AAA despite having a superior statistical performance speaks volumes. These are the types of moves that allow for insight into management's thought process and it seems like the Yankees really do foresee Navarro being a significant contributor down the line. Cano, on the other hand, will have to show more. TLEā„¢ had a good start on Thursday, 7-7-2-2-1-7-1. With his struggles with overall consistency and the long ball, yet overwhelming strikeout rate and good control, I think Ramirez would be an absolute stud reliever. Though at 22, and a converted OF, he still has time to figure out the whole SP thing. Sardinha hit 3rd again on Thursday and disappointed again. By going 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts, though he did play errorless defense, he was demoted to 7th for Friday's game. Hitting 7th he was 1 for 4 with a single. Tampa played Thursday, but may not be playing again for a brief bit due to hurricane concerns. To be exact, the rest of their regular season has been cancelled and their next game will be their first playoff contest. Having a franchise in the FSL seems really wasteful to me considering all the weather concerns that need to be managed. Then again, having a facility like Legends Field there does tie you to the spot. I guess I can't help be jealous of the other High-A leagues getting their schedules in. Anyway, in the game that Tampa did play there was more negative than positive amongst the players that matter. Melky Cabrera's downward trend continued as the CF was 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. I have to assume that Cabrera's struggles may not be as bad as they look statistically since he is still holding on to the 3-spot despite not doing much, but hitting the occasional single or home run as of late. Eric Duncan, on the other hand, is closing the year strong. The 3B was 1 for 3 with a double, a walk, and a strikeout. Duncan has 20 doubles in just 173 FSL at bats. This is after hitting 23 doubles in 288 MWL at bats. On the year his outstanding extra base hit numbers total 43 doubles, 4 triples, and 16 home runs. I think it's fairly certain that Duncan begins '05 in AA. If the Yankees keep him there the whole year, I feel fairly certain he will lead the league in homers. Whatever "it" is, Duncan has it. Rudy Guillen's night was close to Melky's. The RF was 0 for 4 with a strikeout, which dropped his average to .264. Guillen also has outstanding raw power, according to scouting reports, but has not been able to show it in games as much as Duncan has. Like many Yankee affiliates, BC is in a playoff-run. Unfortunately, it seems they picked the wrong time to hit a snag. The goal for the team was to finish second, gain playoff entrance, and take it from there. Instead they have been losing to the worst team in their division. The blame for this is both for the offense and the defense (re: pitching). Tyler Clippard and Abel Gomez, the losers of the last two games, have both had very good years, but did not end them on a positive note. Clippard had one of the worst outings of his pro career, 3-5-5-5-3-0-0, really battling his control, and Abel had one of his lesser outings this year, 5-5-4-4-4-6-0, also battling his control. Though it must be said that it is more normal for Abel to battle his control than it is for T-Clip to do so. Both pitchers seemed to tire down the stretch, which is bad news for the BC Yanks because if they were to make the playoffs, they're who you would want to go to war with at number 1 and 2. Nevertheless, in the scope of full-season debuts both teenagers have much to be proud of. For the season, Clippard finishes 149-153-71-57-32-145-12 and Gomez finishes 142.2-115-73-58-73-149-7. Unless my math is more off than normal, this places Gomez as the '05 organizational strikeout leader, with T-Clip tied for 2nd. Not too shabby. The Erold Andrus .300 dream is over. Following my publishing of what he needed to do to reach the magical mark, the CF responded by going 1 for 9 with 2 strikeouts. Hector Made, for whom I did not make similar proclamations, did well. The SS was 3 for 9 with 3 singles and a walk. With 3 games left in the season, I think the new goal for both players should be .290 (I am knocking on wood as I type this to avoid further jinxing anyone). Made, hitting .283, would have to go 7 for 12, assuming 4 at bats per game. Andrus, hitting .287, would have to go 5 for 12. Jesse Hoover started the Friday SI game and struggles with his control led to a short, but somewhat impressive outing. The big right-hander went 3.2-2-1-1-3-7-0. This is his final appearance of the year and his final line is 55.2-28-14-11-26-90-0. That would make him 2nd in the league in strikeouts, which is amazing considering that the leader only managed 11 more strikeouts in 20.2 more innings. If his control develops... Tim Battle was 1 for 3 with a double, a walk, and a strikeout on Thursday and then 0 for 2 with a strikeout on Friday. Estee Harris was 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts on Thursday and then 2 for 3 with 2 doubles and a strikeout on Friday. Harris is still having similar problems to what he had in the beginning of the year at BC, but has rediscovered his power stroke. The organization leader in strikeouts will be under pressure to perform in '05. Battle on the other hand will look to really take off in '05 and I think he will succeed. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Thursday, September 02, 2004
 
FINAL WEEK Trenton picked up their 3rd straight loss as they near the completion of an incredibly disappointing season. If it's any consolation, they went down to one of baseball's better pitching prospects, Zach Duke, and by scoring one run in the 5 innings that he pitched they actually made his ERA go up. Bronson Sardinha had another mixed night except this night was heavily weighted towards the negative. Back to his natural position, DH, the 21-year-old got a single, good, and struck out in all 3 of his remaining at bats, very bad. His walk rate and power have gone up since being promoted to AA, but not nearly as much as his strikeout rate, which is alarming. It also hurts his overall AA performance that his BA has dropped some .037 points. The best prospect news of the night came from Tampa. Strangely, it wasn't from one of the 3 position prospects. Rather, it was from the right-hand of Eric Abreu. Abreu was dominant in picking up his second victory at that level as he went 6-3-1-1-2-7-1. The right-hander with a big time fastball has now gone 17-7-2-2-6-15-1 at Tampa after going 27.2-24-5-5-6-47-1 at SI. This doesn't even include his dominant stint in the GCL that started his emergence. Abreu is earning a very nice reputation in my mind and were I in charge of the Yankees, I would be tempted to start the 21-year-old at AA next year. He has been that dominant. Each of the position prospects picked up a single in 4 at bats last night. Cabrera had a walk and a strikeout to go along with his single and Duncan had a sac fly in addition to his. Last night's game was a strange one for BC, despite a huge team offensive output, the Hector Made show actually hit a snag. The SS was 0 for 5 with a strikeout, though on the positive side he did draw a walk. The night saw his average drop down to .282. Erold Andrus, on the other hand, was a big part of the 13-run, 19-hit night. The CF was 3 for 5 with 2 singles, a double, and a walk. Andrus' BA is now nearing the magical .300 mark, but still a bit away at .290. Though BAs aren't indicative of "real" production, it is a nice round number for the switch-hitter to aspire to and he has a small shot at it with 5 games to go. Assuming he gets 4 at bats per game, which is reasonable, he will need to turn it up just a bit and go 12 for 20. Likely? No, but given his recent performance it is still possible. SI lost again, but Battle and Harris did their part to work towards a victory. Harris continues to tantalize, as he was 1 for 2 with yet another home run, yet another strikeout, and 2 more walks. Harris. Only twice in the last four games has a Harris plate appearance ended in something other than a home run, a walk, or a strikeout. You would also have to go back 6 games to find a contest where he made an out that was not a strikeout. Battle, who does not have nearly as much game power as Harris at this point, still had a very good night. The speedy CF was 3 for 4 with 3 singles and a strikeout. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
 
DIDN'T SEE THAT ONE COMING I'm usually a sarcastic person, but the title of this entry is not dripping with sarcasm. Rather, it is my reaction upon reading this news (check where it says "Relief on the way"). Moving on from that exciting tidbit, the past two days of Yankee minor league action have been mostly unexciting, especially at the upper levels. Dioner Navarro, the man of the moment, did not play Monday night and then DHed in Tuesday's game. The result was an 0 for 2 night, though he did manage to draw a walk and seemingly finds a way to make SOME type of offensive contribution each night. Navarro's season will be looked down upon by many prospect analysts this offseason, and realistically, it was a letdown following his outstanding 2003, but I'm still very impressed by him as a prospect. Robinson Cano, no doubt motivated my recent souring on him, seems to be doing his best to end his AAA career the way it started. The enigmatic 21-year-old 2B was a combined 4 for 8 with a double and a home run as he played in both games. Since moving to AAA, Cano has actually done a better job driving the ball over the fence and controlling the strike zone, but seemingly hasn't been hitting the ball into the gaps as often. This may be the result of some pressing on his part. As a result of being so close to the big leagues he may have attempted to change his offensive game towards hitting more home runs and actually messed himself up. I don't know how likely this is, but it is something to consider based on his numbers. Bronson Sardinha seems to have hit another snag. Entrusted with playing defense once again Monday night, Sardinha made another error and was useless at the plate; 0 for 3 with a strikeout. In his defense, the entire team was mowed down Monday night, but it would have been great to see him put together some type of errorless streak at the hot corner. Of course, on Tuesday night he was back to DH and had a mixed night. The positive was that he hit a double in 4 at bats; the negative was that he struck out twice and did not get a walk or any other hit. Sardinha is now at .278. For him to retain some semblance of import as a prospect, he needs to improve his defense greatly or start driving the ball even more. Otherwise, he is a player without a role above that of pinch-hitter. By far, the biggest disappointment in that Monday night game had to be Sean Henn. Henn was able to give his team an outing of 2.2-7-7-7-4-3-0 (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO-HR). Well, at least he didn't give up a home run. Coming into the season I had written off Henn. Sure he supposedly still had a ton of talent, but 2003 left too sour a taste in my mouth, especially considering how long it took him to rehab TJ. Then, he went out and impressed in Yankee ST '04 and I gained some mild optimism. He continued this throughout the first month or so of the season, making me think happy thoughts about big, powerful, left-handed SPs. Unfortunately, since that first month, Henn has struggled to put together consecutive good starts and in the last month has just become awful. I've said it enough times already, but I'll put it out there one time. The Yankees need to cut their losses with him as a SP and see if he can be useful out of the pen. I'm also beginning to wonder why the Yankees are sending a pitcher with a history of arm troubles to the AFL when he has already thrown 156.1 innings this year. Normally, that's not that many innings, but his previous career high is 80, so this is a big jump for him. I haven't seen any reports that say Matt DeSalvo's back injury is extremely serious so I would think he would be a more viable option for that assignment, provided he is recovered. Steven White continued to roll through the FSL Monday night. The 23-year-old RHP went 6-3-2-2-0-8-0 on the way to his 6th victory in the FSL. His progress in the FSL has been similar to what he did in the MWL in that he started off a bit shaky, but then just began to dominate. A Trenton rotation headed by him and Matt DeSalvo to open 2005 should be very interesting. Both guys, who will be in their age-24 seasons, should be on the fast track. Guillen, Duncan, and Cabrera were OK over the two games. Cabrera went 3 for 8 with 3 singles and a strikeout as he does his best to get his average back to its former lofty positions. Duncan was 1 for 7 with a double, a walk, and 2 strikeouts as he continues to demonstrate that there are many ways to contribute to a team outside of a pretty batting average if you have power and patience. Guillen was 2 for 7 with 2 singles as he tries to get his average up since he lacks much power or patience, in the absolute sense, this season. I think it would be a good idea to keep this trio together, as I generally like prospects moving in groups, and think all 3 have shown enough to start 2005 in AA. Yes, even Guillen. His season has actually been encouraging in some aspects despite how ugly the final numbers may look. Hector Made and Erold Andrus have been making some serious noise for the past couple months and the opening of this week was no different. The dynamic duo beat up on Dayton Dragons' pitching as they lead the BC-playoff charge. Made was a combined 5 for 10 with 3 singles, a double, a home run, and a walk and has his average all the way up to .285 to go along with 31 doubles and 5 homers. Meanwhile, Andrus was a combined 5 for 11 with 3 singles, a double, a home run, and 2 strikeouts and has his average all the way up to .287 to go along with 33 doubles and 12 homers. Both should be solid contributors for Tampa next spring. Jeff Marquez lost on Monday, just to show that you can't be great every time out. The final line was not pretty, 3.2-6-7-5-3-4-0, but it does nothing to mar what has been an outstanding debut. If you force me to find a negative in the profile, I will say that Marquez didn't strike out many hitters in the NYPL, but I'll give him leeway based on being a sinkerballer and a teenager. Tim Battle and Estee Harris both bounced back a bit in their two games. Battle was 3 for 8 with 3 singles, a walk, and 2 strikeouts. Harris was 2 for 7 with a single, a home run, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, and a stolen base. Battle is at .242 and Harris at .238 for the NYPL season. The best news to come out of the system in recent days is what took place in the GCL. The GCL Yankees were able to sweep the GCL Red Sox and take home that league's championship. Christian Garcia had the most dominating pitching performance of the set. In starting and winning game 1 he went 6-1-1-1-3-3-0. The outing was the longest by any pitcher on that team this year. Garcia just overpowers hitters with serious heat. He reminds me of a Capellan type of prospect as his calling card is overpowering heat. Poterson was very good as he went 3 for 9 with a single, a double, a home run, and 3 strikeouts. It will be interesting to see where the organization places him to start '05. I think he should be held back until next year's NYPL, but thus far the organization has shown much more confidence in him than I have and he may start out at BC. Vech had a sub par series as he went 1 for 7 with a walk and a stolen base. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to minoryankeeblog@hotmail.com
 
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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