Posted on: August 9, 2009 10:41 am
 

Thoughts on the Yankees/Red Sox Rivalry

  • Am I the only one who finds the idea that Red Sox fans are done with Theo Epstein absurd?  The man not only changed the Red Sox from lovable losers to obnoxious winners, but he changed the entire game and the way teams manage their prospects and rosters.  If I'm running any team in the league (including the Yankees), I'd jump at the chance to hire him.
  • Some fans of both teams are such poor sports it's disgusting.  How many times do we really need to read the "I'm right and you're wrong" arguments on these boards.
  • Yankees fans are incredibly fortunate to have beat writer Peter Abraham blogging.  He's the best baseball blogger I've seen.  Check him out at http://yankees.lhblogs.com/ whether you're a Yankee fan or not -- you'll appreciate the type of coverage he provides.
  • Red Sox fans got a nice reprieve from having to join the rest of the world in the reality that players on their team did steroids this week, with the plausable deniability defense of David Ortiz.  I would be much faster to believe all of it if we hadn't heard it from others many times before (and not once has the person actually turned out to be clean).
  • For any Red Sox fans who read this, why haven't the Red Sox promoted Michael Bowden yet?  Seems like he deserves a shot, given their current pitching nightmares.
  • Speaking of pitchers, I'm disappointed that the Yankees demoted Mark Melancon.  They didn't have much of a choice, I'll admit, but the guy had 4 appearances (5 2/3 IP) without giving up a run, walking 1, and striking out 5.  He'll be a big part of the bullpen next year.  Until the fifth starter is straightened out, however, they'll need to keep Gaudin and Mitre both on the roster.
  • The Yankees finally admitted that they'll allow Joba to go over his innings limit when it comes to the playoffs.  Let's hope he doesn't get hurt.
  • Speaking of young pitchers, the guy who's arguably the Red Sox's best pitcher, Jon Lester, goes tonight.  If you ask most teams which of Josh Beckett or Jon Lester they'd take, they'd take Lester.
  • As far as Red Sox blogs go, I love the format of this one: http://bostondirtdogs.boston.com/
  • As a Yankee fan, I haven't forgotten about the fact that the Yankees entered this series 0-8 against the Red Sox.  What goes up may also come back down. 
  • ARod's hip is bothering him, you can tell from his recent performance at the plate as well as how he's moving while waiting for the ball to be hit.  He really needs a day off, and soon. 
  • The Yankees already must regret ARod's contract, and they will grow to hate it in time, unfortunately.
  • The Yankees' minor league system has been demolished by injuries this year.  Jesus Montero, Ian Kennedy, Zach McAllister, Alan Horne, George Kontos, Chris Garcia, and Dellin Betances, among others, have all been lost to injury at some point this year (or for the remainder season, for most of them).  If it weren't for the development of Arodys Vizcaino and Kelvin DeLeon in Staten Island, I'm not sure what I could say that was positive about the minor league system just now.  Maybe that Austin Jackson's finally out of his recent slump?  Or that McAllister is pitching again?  Or that Andrew Brackman wasn't quite so awful in his last outing?
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 3, 2008 8:24 am
 

2008 MLB Mock Draft Version 2

This is my second look at the 2008 MLB mock draft.  A few more rumors are circulating, and there have been a few changes.  Also, I've added in who I think the #1 alternate would be for each selection.  There are two teams without picks: the Atlanta Braves (due to the Tom Glavine signing) and the Los Angeles Angels (due to the Torii Hunter signing).

Note: The alternate picks will always be a player that hasn't been taken in my mock draft.  You can assume that if players already selected for teams are still available, they are options.

1. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are the first team to pick #1 back-to-back. They're loaded in the farm system. They have a bunch of top pitching prospects. The only spot their farm system may not produce a player (Jaso hasn't done well thus far this season) is catcher, although not everyone is sold on SS Reid Brignac. That's why Buster Posey, the catcher from FSU makes so much sense. He went into this weekend leading the NCAA in batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. And he plays catcher. his stock rose hugely during this season.

Update: I believe the Rays are still torn between Posey and Tim Beckham, who many think is the #1 prospect.  Personally, I think picking Beckham with where the Rays farm system is now would be a mistake, as Posey should be able to contribute in 2010, and Beckham won't be ready until at least 2012.

Pick: Buster Posey, Catcher, Junior, Florida State
Stats: .471 (1st)/.571 (1st)/.858 (1st) 1.429 OPS, 75 runs (5th), 20 doubles (50th), 4 triples, 17 hr (26th), 128th toughest to strike out

Alternate Pick: Tim Beckham, SS, HS

2. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates are supposedly thinking about picking Pedro Alvarez, to prove that they are willing to spend cash on a player. Alvarez is a great prospect, but broke a bone his hamate bone before the season started and hasn't been himself this season. I think this injury, plus the fact that Alvarez will eventually be a 1st baseman (in my opinion due to his below average speed and average arm). I think there's enough risk here that the Pirates will back off.

So, enough about who they won't take. I expect they'll go for one of three players (along w/ Alvarez being an outside possibility): Posey (if he's available), Tim Beckham, a high school SS, or Brian Matusz, a lefty out of Univ of San Diego. The Pirates are the worst in the majors in pitching.

Update: The same information is out there regarding Alvarez and the Pirates willingness to take him.  I can't say I'm any more convinced now than I was then.

Pick: Brian Matusz, LHP, Junior, San Diego
Stats: 2.05 ERA (16th), 10 wins (7th), 12.48 k/9 (5th), 7.67 H/9 (75th), 1.58 BB/9 (113th)

Alternate Pick: Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt

3. Kansas City Royals

Last season, the Royals picked Mike Moustakas, a Scott Boras client. There are questions whether he can stick at short, but for now they seem to be keeping him there. With Alex Gordon at 3rd, I believe the Royals will do their best to keep them there. As I mentioned above, though, Pedro Alvarez is unlikely to stick at 3rd. He's the best hitter available, and the Royals really could use him. Oh, and btw, Alvarez has only a 89.7% fielding percentage this season. Ryan Braun, anyone? That said, is anyone going to complain about having to put Braun's bat--or Alvarez's--in the lineup?

Pick: Pedro Alvarez, 3b, Junior, Vanderbilt
Stats: .322/.431/.596, but his career stats (48 hr) are far more impressive.

Alternate Pick: Tim Beckham, SS, HS

4. Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles ripped the Mariners (who were supposedly in "win now" mode) off in the Bedard trade, so the farm system and the major league club are both in better shape. They still have plenty of needs, though. If Alvarez is still around, they'll take him. Matusz would also be tempting, as a replacement for Bedard. With the way this particular draft is shaping up, though, the pick will be Tim Beckham. He's more projection than reality right now, but the tools are all there. He should stick at short and will flash plus power due to his great bat speed.

Pick: Tim Beckham, SS, HS

Alternate Pick: Justin Smoak, 1B

5. San Francisco Giants

So, what do you give the team that needs everything? Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration as the team has some decent ML pitching, and a very nice future first baseman in Angel Villalona (a stud in Low A despite being only 17). Given this, I expect them to take Gordon Beckham, a shortstop from the University of Georgia. There's some risk he won't stick at short, but even if he's not at short, he'll be somewhere the Giants need him.

Pick: Gordon Beckham, SS, Junior, University of Georgia
Stats: .401 (53rd)/.511 (21st)/.811 (6th), 76 runs (4th) 23 hr (2nd), 57 rbi (93rd), 16 sb (174th)

Alternate Pick: Kyle Skipworth, C, HS

6. Florida Marlins

We all know the Marlins aren't going to be breaking the bank, so you can forget about anyone with big demands (Justin Smoak, Eric Hosmer, that means you). I believe there will be two potential players at this spot: prep catcher Kyle Skipworth or pitcher Aaron Crow.

Update: I no longer think Crow's the pick here.  The Marlins are supposedly enamored with HS catcher Kyle Skipworth, who many scouts consider to have a higher upside than Posey.

Pick: Kyle Skipworth, C, HS

Alternate Pick: Aaron Crow, RHP

7. Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have no need for 1st baseman or outfielders, at least right now so Smoak, Hosmer, and Alonzo are out. With Crow and Matusz gone, Shooter Hunt's the next best pitcher, but I don't think he'll go here. Kyle Skipworth, catcher, would be a good fit.

Update: Crow's no longer gone, so I see the Reds taking him.

Pick: Aaron Crow, RHP, Junior, University of Missouri
Stats: 2.66 (41st), 12 wins (1st), 10.94 k/9 (17th), 7.49 h/9 (61st), 3.25 bb/9 (418th)

Alternate Pick: Brett Lawrie, INF, HS

8. Chicago White Sox

I think the White Sox will be pleased to see Justin Smoak drop to them, and take him quickly. Regardless, the farm system is barren. They could use just about anyone.

Pick: Justin Smoak, 1b, Junior, Vanderbilt
Stats: .389 (89)/.509 (26) /.758 (17th) 20 hr (9th), 61 rbi (55)

Alternate Pick: Brett Lawrie, INF, HS

9. Washington Nationals

The Nationals have seemingly picked a bat each year and promoted the player to the ML squad, at least for an audition, each September. But their pitching is a mess, and they really could use some help in that area.

Pick: Shooter Hunt, RHP, Junior, Tulane
Stats: 2.1 ERA (19th), 9 wins (15), 11.55 k/9 (11), 4.52 h/9 (3rd)

Alternate Pick: Christian Friedrich, LHP

10. Houston Astros

I believe the Astros will go for pitching, and with Tanner Scheppers having a stress fracture in his shoulder (danger, danger), they'll pass him by at this point. The best remaining pitcher is lefty Christian Friedrich. I'm not entirely sold on him--his fastball doesn't move enough and he has slightly below average command. That said, he's a lefty who throws up to 93 mph and has a nice curve.

Pick: Christian Friedrich, LHP, Junior, Eastern Kentucky
Stats: 1.43 ERA (2nd), 11.9 K/9 (9th), 4.41 H/9 (2nd)

Alternate Pick: Tim Melville, RHP, HS

11. Texas Rangers

At this point, there aren't any pitchers worth taking, but there are a couple of bats that are just too good to pass up. Yonder Alonso and Eric Hosmer are the most likely choices. Alonso's more signable, but the Rangers hadn't shied away from Boras clients. It's a tough call.

Pick: Eric Hosmer, 1b, HS

Alternate Pick: Yonder Alonso, 1b, Miami

12. Oakland Athletics

It'll be a college player. He won't have an exhorbitant price. He'll have a good batting eye and hit for power. If there's one guy in the draft with a better eye than Buster Posey that's proven, it's Yonder Alonso.

Pick: Yonder Alonso, 1b, Junior, University of Miami
Stats: .393 (79)/.556 (2)/.816 (5)

Alternate Pick: Brett Wallace, 1b/3b ASU, who should be cheaper.

13. St Louis Cardinals

Based on the players gone at this point, there isn't a great fit for St Louis. They could go w/ Aaron Hicks, a player who reminds me a bit of Rick Ankiel (although a righty, and a switch hitter). The college crop of pitchers isn't great at this point, and the best college hitter left , 1st baseman Brett Wallace (who might have a small chance of sticking at 3rd) doesn't fit them given that they have Pujols. I think they'll go for the top prep pitcher in Tim Melville.

Pick: Tim Melville, RHP, HS

Alternate Pick: Aaron Hicks, OF/RHP, HS

14. Minnesota Twins

They'll definitely be scared away by any big demands at this point. I think they'll go for a relatively safe target. Wallace is a nice pick at this point.

Pick: Brett Wallace, 1b/3b, Arizona State
Stats: .409 (31)/.525 (11)/.764 (14), 19 hr (13), 77 rbi (5), 14 sb (280)

Alternate Pick: Josh Fields, RHP

15. Los Angeles Dodgers

Here's the team that I think will take the chance on Aaron Hicks.

Pick: Aaron Hicks, OF/RHP, HS

Alternate Pick: Jason Castro, C

16. Milwaukee Brewers

I think the Brewers will look pitching here, but the best starters are gone. They'll go w/ the best bullpen arm, and he'll move fast.

Pick: Josh Fields, RHP, University of Georgia
Stats: 16 saves (1st)

Alternate Pick: Brett Lawrie, INF

17. Toronto Blue Jays

The last first round catcher should be Jason Castro. I think this will be between a few players, but Ike Davis (1b at Arizona state), 3b Conor Gillaspie, or Castro will be the pick. I think they'll go for the more sure thing with the bat.

Pick: Ike Davis, 1b, Arizona State

Alternate Pick: Jason Castro, C

18. New York Mets

They don't need a 3b or ss, but can use most anything else.

Pick: Jason Castro, C, Stanford

Alternate Pick: Andrew Cashner, RHP

19. Chicago Cubs

At this point, athletic hs outfielder, Zach Collier, is too good to pass up.

Pick: Zach Collier, OF, HS

Alternate Pick: Casey Kelly, SS/RHP

20. Seattle Mariners

Casey Kelly projects as either a SS or a pitcher, both are places the mariners could use him.

Pick: Casey Kelly, SS/P, HS

Alternate Pick: Anthony Hewitt, INF

21. Detroit Tigers

Renteria's only 32, but he hasn't done well so far this year, and I think Detroit may start looking for his replacement. Havens is perhaps a bit of a stretch here though.

Pick: Reese Havens, SS, Univ. South Carolina

Alternate Pick: Whoever is a signability issue that's fallen here...  Gerrit Cole, RHP, HS perhaps?

22. New York Mets

The Mets need almost everything. They aren't expected to break slot though. Starting pitching is their biggest need, most likely. Unless their unconcerned with Scheppers' injury, they'll go for a high school pitcher. I'm not sure if they'd like Martin better as a pitcher or a 3rd baseman (he's a top prospect as both), but if they like him as a pitcher, they'll take him. If not, they might move him to right field.

Pick: Ethan Martin, RHP/3b, HS

Alternate Pick: Andrew Cashner, RHP

23. San Diego Padres

I think at this point the Padres will want an outfielder. The best college outfielder left on the board at this point is Dennis Raben out of the university of Miami.

Pick: Dennis Raben, OF, Miami

Alternate Pick: If they aren't afraid of his injury, Tanner Scheppers, RHP

24. Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies cannot pass up Gillaspie if he's still here. With the Tigers, Padres, and Mets being set at 3rd, there's a decent chance he falls this far.

Pick: Conor Gillaspie, 3b, Wichita State

Alternate Pick: Jake Odorozzi, RHP, HS

25. Colorado Rockies

The Rockies may go with a reliever, and there are several good options on the board. The best of which appears to be Andrew Cashner.

Pick: Andrew Cashner, RHP, TCU

Alternate Pick: Jake Odorozzi, RHP, HS

26. Arizona Diamondbacks

Gerrit Cole may have too much potential to pass up, despite the Boras price tag.

Pick: Gerrit Cole, RHP, HS

Alternate Pick: Jake Odorozzi, RHP, HS

27. Minnesota Twins

Jemile Weeks is the best 2nd baseman in the draft, and may be tempting for the Twins.

Pick: Jemile Weeks, 2b, Miami

Alternate Pick: David Cooper, 1b

28. New York Yankees

The Yankees haven't been shying away from top talent that's hurt. Tanner Scheppers was a top 10 pick before the shoulder issue. He's not a lefty, which the Yankees have been looking at. 

Update: More rumors are swirling about the lefties the Yankees have looked at.  I still think they'll end up with someone other than a LHP, but it's like betting Tiger Woods or the field at this point.

Pick: Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Fresno State

Alternate Pick: Whoever isn't signable who fell above, but if no one, a high school lefty perhaps, or...  Jake Odorozzi, RHP, HS

29. Cleveland Indians

The Indians may be prepping for losing Sabathia. While Jake Odorozzi won't be ready for a while, he'll improve the strength of their farm system's pitching.

Pick: Jake Odorozzi, RHP, HS

Alternate Pick: Daniel Schlereth, LHP, Arizona

30. Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox will take whoever they think is the top player left in the draft, regardless of position.

Pick: David Cooper, 1b, California

Alternate Pick: Allan Dykstra, 1b, Wake Forest
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Draft
 
Posted on: May 24, 2008 11:59 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2008 12:23 am
 

2008 MLB Mock Draft Version 1

With the MLB first year player draft taking place in less than two weeks, it's time to take a look at who each MLB team might take in the first round. There are two teams without picks: the Atlanta Braves (due to the Tom Glavine signing) and the Los Angeles Angels (due to the Torii Hunter signing).

1. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are the first team to pick #1 back-to-back. They're loaded in the farm system. They have a bunch of top pitching prospects. The only spot their farm system may not produce a player (Jaso hasn't done well thus far this season) is catcher, although not everyone is sold on SS Reid Brignac. That's why Buster Posey, the catcher from FSU makes so much sense. He went into this weekend leading the NCAA in batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. And he plays catcher. his stock rose hugely during this season.

Pick: Buster Posey, Catcher, Junior, Florida State
Stats: .471 (1st)/.571 (1st)/.858 (1st) 1.429 OPS, 75 runs (5th), 20 doubles (50th), 4 triples, 17 hr (26th), 128th toughest to strike out


2. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates are supposedly thinking about picking Pedro Alvarez, to prove that they are willing to spend cash on a player. Alvarez is a great prospect, but broke a bone his hamate bone before the season started and hasn't been himself this season. I think this injury, plus the fact that Alvarez will eventually be a 1st baseman (in my opinion due to his below average speed and average arm). I think there's enough risk here that the Pirates will back off.

So, enough about who they won't take. I expect they'll go for one of three players (along w/ Alvarez being an outside possibility): Posey (if he's available), Tim Beckham, a high school SS, or Brian Matusz, a lefty out of Univ of San Diego. The Pirates are the worst in the majors in pitching.

Pick: Brian Matusz, LHP, Junior, San Diego
Stats: 2.05 ERA (16th), 10 wins (7th), 12.48 k/9 (5th), 7.67 H/9 (75th), 1.58 BB/9 (113th)

3. Kansas City Royals

Last season, the Royals picked Mike Moustakas, a Scott Boras client. There are questions whether he can stick at short, but for now they seem to be keeping him there. With Alex Gordon at 3rd, I believe the Royals will do their best to keep them there. As I mentioned above, though, Pedro Alvarez is unlikely to stick at 3rd. He's the best hitter available, and the Royals really could use him. Oh, and btw, Alvarez has only a 89.7% fielding percentage this season. Ryan Braun, anyone? That said, is anyone going to complain about having to put Braun's bat--or Alvarez's--in the lineup?

Pick: Pedro Alvarez, 3b, Junior, Vanderbilt
Stats: .322/.431/.596, but his career stats (48 hr) are far more impressive.

4. Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles ripped the Mariners (who were supposedly in "win now" mode) off in the Bedard trade, so the farm system and the major league club are both in better shape. They still have plenty of needs, though. If Alvarez is still around, they'll take him. Matusz would also be tempting, as a replacement for Bedard. With the way this particular draft is shaping up, though, the pick will be Tim Beckham. He's more projection than reality right now, but the tools are all there. He should stick at short and will flash plus power due to his great bat speed.

Pick: Tim Beckham, SS, HS

5. San Fransisco Giants

So, what do you give the team that needs everything? Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration as the team has some decent ML pitching, and a very nice future first baseman in Angel Villalona (a stud in Low A despite being only 17). Given this, I expect them to take Gordon Beckham, a shortstop from the University of Georgia. There's some risk he won't stick at short, but even if he's not at short, he'll be somewhere the Giants need him.

Pick: Gordon Beckham, SS, Junior, University of Georgia
Stats: .401 (53rd)/.511 (21st)/.811 (6th), 76 runs (4th) 23 hr (2nd), 57 rbi (93rd), 16 sb (174th)

6. Florida Marlins

We all know the Marlins aren't going to be breaking the bank, so you can forget about anyone with big demands (Justin Smoak, Eric Hosmer, that means you). I believe there will be two potential players at this spot: prep catcher Kyle Skipworth or pitcher Aaron Crow.

Pick: Aaron Crow, RHP, Junior, University of Missouri
Stats: 2.66 (41st), 12 wins (1st), 10.94 k/9 (17th), 7.49 h/9 (61st), 3.25 bb/9 (418th)

7. Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have no need for 1st baseman or outfielders, at least right now so Smoak, Hosmer, and Alonzo are out. With Crow and Matusz gone, Shooter Hunt's the next best pitcher, but I don't think he'll go here. Kyle Skipworth, catcher, would be a good fit.

Pick: Kyle Skipworth, Catcher, HS

8. Chicago White Sox

I think the White Sox will be pleased to see Justin Smoak drop to them, and take him quickly. Regardless, the farm system is barren. They could use just about anyone.

Pick: Justin Smoak, 1b, Junior, Vanderbilt
Stats: .389 (89)/.509 (26) /.758 (17th) 20 hr (9th), 61 rbi (55)

9. Washington Nationals

The Nationals have seemingly picked a bat each year and promoted the player to the ML squad, at least for an audition, each September. But their pitching is a mess, and they really could use some help in that area.

Pick: Shooter Hunt, RHP, Junior, Tulane
Stats: 2.1 ERA (19th), 9 wins (15), 11.55 k/9 (11), 4.52 h/9 (3rd)

10. Houston Astros

I believe the Astros will go for pitching, and with Tanner Scheppers having a stress fracture in his shoulder (danger, danger), they'll pass him by at this point. The best remaining pitcher is lefty Christian Friedrich. I'm not entirely sold on him--his fastball doesn't move enough and he has slightly below average command. That said, he's a lefty who throws up to 93 mph and has a nice curve.

Pick: Christian Friedrich, LHP, Junior, Eastern Kentucky
Stats: 1.43 ERA (2nd), 11.9 K/9 (9th), 4.41 H/9 (2nd)

11. Texas Rangers

At this point, there aren't any pitchers worth taking, but there are a couple of bats that are just too good to pass up. Yonder Alonso and Eric Hosmer are the most likely choices. Alonso's more signable, but the Rangers hadn't shied away from Boras clients. It's a tough call.

Pick: Eric Hosmer, 1b, HS

12. Oakland Athletics

It'll be a college player. He won't have an exhorbitant price. He'll have a good batting eye and hit for power. If there's one guy in the draft with a better eye than Buster Posey that's proven, it's Yonder Alonso.

Pick: Yonder Alonso, 1b, Junior, University of Miami
Stats: .393 (79)/.556 (2)/.816 (5)

13. St Louis Cardinals

Based on the players gone at this point, there isn't a great fit for St Louis. They could go w/ Aaron Hicks, a player who reminds me a bit of Rick Ankiel (although a righty, and a switch hitter). The college crop of pitchers isn't great at this point, and the best college hitter left , 1st baseman Brett Wallace (who might have a small chance of sticking at 3rd) doesn't fit them given that they have Pujols. I think they'll go for the top prep pitcher in Tim Melville.

Pick: Tim Melville, RHP, HS

14. Minnesota Twins

They'll definitely be scared away by any big demands at this point. I think they'll go for a relatively safe target. Wallace is a nice pick at this point.

Pick: Brett Wallace, 1b/3b, Arizona State
Stats: .409 (31)/.525 (11)/.764 (14), 19 hr (13), 77 rbi (5), 14 sb (280)

15. Los Angeles Dodgers

Here's the team that I think will take the chance on Aaron Hicks.

Pick: Aaron Hicks, OF/RHP, HS

16. Milwaukee Brewers

I think the Brewers will look pitching here, but the best starters are gone. They'll go w/ the best bullpen arm, and he'll move fast.

Pick: Josh Fields, RHP, University of Georgia
Stats: 16 saves (1st)

17. Toronto Blue Jays

The last first round catcher should be Juan Castro. I think this will be between a few players, but Ike Davis (1b at Arizona state), 3b Conor Gillaspie, or Castro will be the pick. I think they'll go for the more sure thing with the bat.

Pick: Ike Davis, 1b, Arizona State

18. New York Mets

They don't need a 3b or ss, but can use most anything else.

Pick: Jason Castro, C, Stanford

19. Chicago Cubs

At this point, athletic hs outfielder, Zach Collier, is too good to pass up.

Pick: Zach Collier, OF, HS

20. Seattle Mariners

Casey Kelly projects as either a SS or a pitcher, both are places the mariners could use him.

Pick: Casey Kelly, SS/P, HS

21. Detroit Tigers

Renteria's only 32, but he hasn't done well so far this year, and I think Detroit may start looking for his replacement. Havens is perhaps a bit of a stretch here though.

Pick: Reese Havens, SS, Univ. South Carolina

22. New York Mets

The Mets need almost everything. They aren't expected to break slot though. Starting pitching is their biggest need, most likely. Unless their unconcerned with Scheppers' injury, they'll go for a high school pitcher. I'm not sure if they'd like Martin better as a pitcher or a 3rd baseman (he's a top prospect as both), but if they like him as a pitcher, they'll take him. If not, they might move him to right field.

Pick: Ethan Martin, RHP/3b, HS

23. San Diego Padres

I think at this point the Padres will want an outfielder. The best college outfielder left on the board at this point is Dennis Raben out of the university of Miami.

Pick: Dennis Raben, OF, Miami

24. Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies cannot pass up Gillaspie if he's still here. With the Tigers, Padres, and Mets being set at 3rd, there's a decent chance he falls this far.

Pick: Conor Gillaspie, 3b, Wichita State

25. Colorado Rockies

The Rockies may go with a reliever, and there are several good options on the board. The best of which appears to be Andrew Cashner.

Pick: Andrew Cashner, RHP, TCU

26. Arizona Diamondbacks

Gerrit Cole may have too much potential to pass up, despite the Boras price tag.

Pick: Gerrit Cole, RHP, HS

27. Minnesota Twins

Jemile Weeks is the best 2nd baseman in the draft, and may be tempting for the Twins.

Pick: Jemile Weeks, 2b, Miami

28. New York Yankees

The Yankees haven't been shying away from top talent that's hurt. Tanner Scheppers was a top 10 pick before the shoulder issue. He's not a lefty, which the Yankees have been looking at, but none of the lefties left are worthy of this pick.

Pick: Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Fresno State

29. Cleveland Indians

The Indians may be prepping for losing Sabathia. While Jake Odorozzi won't be ready for a while, he'll improve the strength of their farm system's pitching.

Pick: Jake Odorozzi, RHP, HS

30. Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox will take whoever they think is the top player left in the draft, regardless of position.

Pick: David Cooper, 1b, California
Category: MLB
Tags: 2008 Draft
 
Posted on: April 24, 2008 11:40 pm
 

Charleston RiverDogs move to 18-3

Ok, so it's a minor league team, and well, you should never get too excited one way or another with the record of a minor league team.  However, this isn't a team made up of a bunch of overage players, this is a team that's loooooaaaaded with young prospects.  18-3?  Are you kidding me?

I'm going to do a report on how all the Yankees' prospects are doing shortly, but I'll start with the RiverDogs, as their performance has been phenominal.

Position players:

C2: Austin Romine: .351/.367/.439 (Currently on the DL), 19 years old

Can you believe this guy's the #2 catching prospect (although the more likely to stick behind the plate) on his own team?  And these stats were after a rough start.  Unfortunately, he got hurt recently, and no real word on the severity of the injury.  He and Jesus Montero (below) were alternating games behind the plate vs DH.  I originally questioned the idea, but in the end I kind of like it. 

C1: Jesus! Montero:  .374/.394/.560, 18 years old Top 10 prospect

If this guy can stick behind the plate, he's going to be amazing.  Even if he winds up at 1st like so many other catching prospects, he's still going to be very good.  The Yankees have said he'll spend the entire year in Charleston, supposedly to work on his defense at catcher.  He's got a strong arm, and seems to be doing fine at both calling games (the pitchers' era is absurdly low, but then again, there are a bunch of great prospects here) and throwing out runners (throwing out two yesterday, but making a throwing error today). 

1B: .Brandon Laird: .260/.322/.364, 21 years old

Laird's not anywhere near being a top prospect, but he put up a great line last year at Staten Island (.339/.367/.577) and has an outside shot to be a useful player.

2B: Justin Snyder: .341/.402/.500, 22 years old

Has 10 errors playing mostly at 2nd, but he's a natural 3rd baseman that they've moved around a bit.  Played some 2nd, short, and 3rd last year.  This stat line isn't out of character for him.  He hit .335/.459/.477 in the short season Staten Island league last season after being drafted in the 21st round.  He's a little old for the league at 22, but he won't be here long, so Charleston should enjoy him while he lasts.

3B: Brad Suttle: .390/.457/.610, 22 years old

Given a well above slot bonus last season by the Yankees in the 4th round (he got supplemental first money), he's considered a strong prospect by the Yankees.  They completely re-created his swing after drafting him, and his struggles in HWB showed it (he was something like 0-28 at one point), but it's obviously paid off.  He just came off the DL tonight, and showed no ill effects, going 2-3 w/ a triple and a walk.  He's going to get lots of nice fat pitches to hit too, batting ahead of Jesus Montero in the #3 spot.

SS: Carmen Angelini, .239/.307/.269, 19 years old

Angelini is the top shortstop prospect in the Yankees system (in my opinion, at least), but he's had a rough start to the season at the plate.   He has 7 steals though, which shows you his speed.

LF: Austin Krum, .262/.333/.377, 22 years old

Got arrested in the offseason for doing something stupid.  I personally don't see him amounting to much.

CF: Abe Almonte, .268/.330/.429, 3 hr, 7 sb, 18 years old

Almonte's a nice CF prospect, who may turn out to be special.  He's small (5-9) but shows good power for an 18 yo in A ball.  He struggled a bit at the plate to start the season, but has come on lately.

RF: David Williams, 24, not a prospect

Pitching Staff:

Dellin Betances: 3-0, 2.39, 35 Ks/18 BBs in 26 IP, 6'8" 20 year old top 10 prospect

Betances has been great this year, but the best thing thus far is that he's stayed healthy.  His control isn't where you'd want it yet, but that's why he's in A ball.  If he stays healthy and pitches through the year, it's a huge success for him.

Zachary McAllister, 2-1, 1.13, 19 Ks/4 BBS, .79 WHIP, 20 year old, 6'6"

McAllister outpitched Betances last year, and thus far he's doing it this year, too.  He'll probably be one of the yankees' top 10 prospects by season end.  He's showing excellent control.  No idea on his velocity right now.  Only next to Betances and Andrew Brackman (6'10 to 7' depending on the report) does this 6'6" righty not get considered tall.

Jairo Heredia, 2-0, 3.48,  22 Ks/7 BBs, 18 years old

I think he'd be on a lot of team's top 10 prospect lists, but he's the #3 prospect at the moment among pitchers on Charleston.  At 18, he has a lot going for him, hitting 93/94 on the radar gun, and he's projectable.  He was baseball america's #15 prospect in the Gulf Coast League last season.
Category: MLB
Posted on: March 18, 2008 10:36 am
 

Yankees 2008 Compared to Yankees 2007

In this season opening breakdown, we'll review where the Yankees stood at this time last year, compared to where they are now.

Catcher: 2007 Jorge Posada; 2008 Same
Outlook: Worse

Posada's another year older, and he had a career year last year at the plate.  He was also much worse than his career numbers at throwing runners out.  Will the upward trend remain up and the downward trend reverse?  I'd say both are long shots.  As a result, I expect the Yankees to be worse at catcher in 2008 than in 2007, both offensively and defensively. 

Reserves: Jose Molina
Unfortunately, with Francisco Cervelli out for 10 weeks with a broken wrist, the Yankees are in no better shape to absorb a catcher injury than they were last year.  If Posada misses extended time, the Yankees will need to turn to Molina, followed by a replacement level catcher.  If Cervelli were healthy, he'd be better than that, but he's not going to be an option at all this season.

First Base: 2007 Josh Phelps/Doug Mientkeiwicz, 2008 Giambi/Duncan/Ensberg/Betemit
Outlook: Better

Say what you will regarding Giambi's improvements this spring, he really can't be worse than he was last year (right?).  He'll be playing for a contract.  On top of that, Ensberg's a quality player, even if he's not played 1st.  Duncan's developed a cult following, and has been dominant in spring training.  Out of these four players, it's my belief you're going to have a strong showing out of first this year, one of the better (albeit most expensive) outputs in the AL.

Second Base:  2007 Robinson Cano, 2008 Same
Outlook: Better

Cano's only 23, and he should still be on the upswing in terms of growth and potential.  He's a rising star, considered by most as the best second baseman in the AL.  He's one of the few Yankees regulars that is still on the upside of his career.

Shortstop: 2007 Derek Jeter, 2008 Same
Outlook: Same

Jeter didn't have a great 2007, so I don't see him necessarily declining in 2008.  That said, he's below average defensively, but well above average offensively.  He should produce at about the same level as last year.

Third Base: 2007 Alex Rodriguez, 2008 Same
Outlook: Worse

What, you expect another 56 home run, MVP season?  Maybe it will happen, but it's certainly too much to expect.  There's lots of room on the downside and not much on the up, so odds are he'll be worse than last season.  He should still be one of the top 2 (with Miguel Cabrera) offensive third basemen in the AL.

Left Field: 2007 Hideki Matsui, 2008 Johnny Damon
Outlook: Slightly Better
Reserves: Matsui, Shelley Duncan
Matsui wasn't good last year, and he got hurt.  Damon probably won't be much better, but at least the Yankees now have Matsui and Duncan to rest him, potentially.  Damon's defense is better than Matsui's, and his arm isn't such a liability in left.  He should be one of the better left fielders, defensively, when healthy.  It's hard to tell what's going to happen this year, but I'm guessing it will be slightly better than last.

Center Field: 2007 Johnny Damon, 2008 Melky Cabrera
Outlook: Slightly Better

Cabrera's on the upside of his career.  This is a make or break year for him, and he knows it.  Austin Jackson and Brett Gardner are nipping at his heels, and so if he doesn't produce early on, he'll be replaced.  Gardner's an outfielder in the Juan Pierre mold (no power, lots of speed, good defense), while Jackson fits more in line with a poor man's Ken Griffey, Jr, plenty of power, solid defense, good speed.   Gardner's ready now, Jackson's chance won't come for another year unless the Yankees are desperate.  Either way, Cabrera can feel the pressure, and I think he'll respond well to it.

Right Field: 2007 Bobby Abreu, 2008 Same
Outlook: Worse

This is a tough one, as Abreu could go either way.  He wasn't great in 2007, and this is a contract year.  He's in better shape now, but he's a year older.  I'm guessing that age is going to be a bigger factor than motivation, and he'll regress a bit, but still be solid.

Designated Hitter: 2007 Jason Giambi, 2008 Hideki Matsui
Outlook: Slightly Better

Giambi was awful in the DH slot, and the production here's even worse if you exclude some players like Alex Rodriguez who made a couple starts. As a whole, the position only produced a .334 OBP and .414 SLG.  That's not going to cut it.  It should be better this year. 

Starting Pitching:

1.
2007 Chien-Ming Wang, 2008 Same
Outlook: Same

Wang has been solid throughout his career, and the same should be expected this year.  There's no reason to expect more or less than last year's stats, which made him one of the top 15 starters in the AL.

2. 2007 Andy Pettitte, 2008 Same
Outlook: Same

Pettitte was solid last year, not exceptional, but solid.  He's had a rough offseason.  I think he'll produce at about the same level as last year, which would be a solid innings eater, and the only lefty in the starting rotation.

3. 2007 Mike Mussina, 2008 Mike Mussina + Joba Chamberlain
Outlook: Better

Okay, so Mussina really isn't the 3rd starter this year, but this made it easier to lay out the season.  Mussina will either be better this year, or will be replaced by Joba by July.  Either way, the Yankees should expect improved production from this spot.

4. 2007 Carl Pavano + Roger Clemens, 2008 Phil Hughes
Outlook: Much better

Even if you don't believe in Phil Franchise, you've got to believe he'll be better than Carl Pavano.  I mean, if he starts two or three games he's better...  Clemens was pretty awful in 2007, nowhere near worth what he was paid.  Hughes was the #1 pitching prospect last year, and despite a few leg injuries, he would still deserve that status if he was rookie eligible.  Regardless, he should be a stud in the long term, if not the short term.  He should be above average, though, in 2008.  That alone will be far better than what the Yankees got from their 4th starters a year ago.

5. 2007 Kei Igawa + Darrell Rasner + Chase Wright + a staff of thousands, 2008 Ian Kennedy
Outlook: Much better

The Yankees had a revolving door in the 5th spot last year.  Igawa, Rasner, Wright were all historically bad.  The only decent pitchers that filled this spot at some point over the season were Hughes and Kennedy, both who are in the rotation this year.  Kennedy should also be above average in 2007, which again will be a huge improvement over last year.

Overall Starting Pitching Outlook:  The Yankees have more depth and more quality in the rotation than last year.  They are counting on some youth in the form of Hughes and Kennedy (and eventually Chamberlain), but there's a ton of talent here, and the starters should put out quality starts more often than not--a huge improvement, and will make things much easier on the bullpen.

Bullpen:

Closer: 2007/2008 Mariano Rivera
Outlook: Slightly Worse

Mariano's aging, and so you should expect some small decline, but he should still be one of the best closers in the game.

Setup Man: 2007 Kyle Farnsworth, 2008 Joba Chamberlain
Outlook: Much Better

Joba became a legend last fall.  He'll continue to grow it in the bullpen during the spring, until he eventually moves into the rotation.  At that point, it's hard to say what this spot will look like, so I'm just going with the assumption that he'll stay here for now.  The Yankees have Mark Melancon and Humberto Sanchez who both could be with the ML bullpen by the time Joba's ready to move into the rotation, and both would be an improvement over Farnsworth.

Other Relievers: 2007 Scott Proctor, Luis Vizcaino, Mike Myers, Brian Bruney, Ron Villone, Sean Henn, 2008 Kyle Farnsworth, LaTroy Hawkins, ???, ???, ???
Outlook: Unknown

The three other relievers out of the pen, besides Hawkins and Farnsworth, are still up in the air.  The bullpen wasn't too bad last season, with the exception of Henn and Farnsworth (and some of the other guys I didn't mention, like Edwar Ramirez, Jeff Karstens, etc).  It might be better this year, it might be worse.  There's definitely more talent here, but will that talent produce?  It's hard to say.  Regardless, I don't think it's going to be as needed this year as last.

Overall Reserves: Better

The farm system is ready to produce both young arms and some young position players to fill in if players get injured.  Ensberg's better than anyone they had on the bench last year, and if Jason Lane accepts a spot in the minors, he and Gardner form a really strong backup set of outfielders.  Catcher's still weak, but no weaker than last year--the help there won't be ready for a couple seasons.

Overall Outlook:  Better
The Yankees hitting will be similar, possibly slightly worse.  The defense will be about the same, possibly slightly worse.  The bullpen will probably be a bit better.  The starting pitching is where this team excels.  It was a huge area of weakness last year, and it should be a strength this year.  Their rotation should be one of the best in the majors in 2008, due to its depth. 

Playoff Outlook: Same
Despite the depth of their rotation, it's still not necessarily as strong at the top as the other competitors.  The Angels (Lackey, Escobar--if both are healthy at that point), the Mariners (Bedard, Hernandez), the Indians (Sabathia, Carmona), and the Red Sox (Beckett, and ... perhaps he can pitch with both arms?) could all boast potentially stronger aces and #2 pitchers than the Yankees.  Until Hughes, Kennedy, and Chamberlain mature, that will most likely be the case.  Wang is really a very good #3, and Pettitte's really a #2.  The Yankees don't have that ace yet, but Hughes and Chamberlain have the stuff to be an ace, and I believe Kennedy has the command, control, and makeup to be an ace.  Will that happen in 2008?  That's probably a stretch.  In other words, there's still no guarantee the Yankees make it out of the first round of the playoffs.  I do believe they make it to the playoffs though.

Projected AL Playoff Teams:
Yankees: AL East Winners
Red Sox: Wild Card
Tigers: AL Central Winners (tough call over the Indians, but I don't think either will be out the Red Sox for the Wild Card)
Mariners: AL West Winners
Category: MLB
Tags: Yankees
 
Posted on: March 15, 2008 10:37 pm
 

Yankees Opening Day Roster

Today, the Yankees added LHRP Billy Traber to the 40-man roster.  As a result, I believe he will end up on the opening day roster as the lefty specialist out of the pen.  While he still could end up in AAA, that seems unlikely at this point.  He's pitched well, and seems to have earned the spot.

Melky Cabrera's suspension may end up causing the Yankees to make a couple roster moves to start the season.  With Melky out, the Yankees only have Damon who can play CF (and Damon's below average at this point).  They'll want to keep up another player, as Matsui's knee isn't healthy enough for him to be a backup there, and an outfield of Duncan/Abreu/Matsui would be too awful to imagine if something happened to Damon. 

As a result, I believe Brett Gardner will make the roster to start the season.  He's a nice player, and many other teams would have him on the 25-man roster anyway.  He's been called "Juan Pierre who can take a walk", which would make for a nice player, someone very different from the players the Yankees have had man CF over the years, including Melky.  He'll eventually be surpassed by Austin Jackson, so if Gardner's going to get a shot, it's this year.

The Yankees would be expected to keep 12 pitchers, and 13 position players.  Here are the guaranteed players:

C: Posada, Molina
1B: Giambi
2B: Cano
3B: Rodriguez
SS: Jeter
LF: Damon
CF: Cabrera (suspended 3 games)
RF: Abreu
DH: Matsui (assuming he's not on the DL)

SPs: Wang, Pettitte, Hughes, Mussina, Kennedy
RPs: Rivera, Chamberlain, Farnsworth, Hawkins

That makes 19 of the 25 spots, with 3 pitchers and 3 hitters remaining.  I'm pretty sure that Shelley Duncan will make the ML roster to start the season.  Wilson Betemit is too good to just get rid of, and I expect he'll be the middle infield sub as he's been working at SS and 2B in the spring, and has always been a sub at 1b and 3b.  That leaves one more hitter spot, which everyone expects to be Morgan Ensberg, because he's too good not to keep.  But Ensberg wasn't put on the 40-man roster, like Traber was.  There's one more 40-man spot (Pavano will go on the 60-day DL), and I still expect that to belong to Ensberg.  Gardner, though, isn't on the 40-man either. 

It's not just down to those two guys fighting for one spot, though.  If either Sean Henn or Brian Bruney fail to make the ML team, they'll need to be sent through waivers as they have no options remaining.  So, Gardner and Ensberg's fates aren't mutually exclusive.  Let's leave the two of them for now, and move on to the bullpen.

At this point. Ross Ohlendorf has earned a spot.  If he doesn't make it, I'd be shocked.  He's pitched extremely well, and he's been put in early in the spring training games, indicating he's going to be a leading 6th-7th-8th inning candidate. I expect Billy Traber to make the team, as I mentioned above.  That leaves 1 bullpen spot. 

Now it gets tough.  1 bullpen spot, 1 hitter spot.  I'm really not sure who's going to win the bullpen spot, but here's some observations:
  • Veras and Bruney are pitching only in the 8th and 9th.  That's vs the other team's minor leaguers.  That's not great evaluation time.  This lowers their chances.
  • Karstens was a (or the) leading candidate until he had an awful game the other day.
  • Igawa was gaining ground, and gave it all back today.
  • Scott Patterson probably deserves the spot, but why hasn't he pitched in almost a week?
  • Edwar Ramirez has been awful, and will probably start in AAA
  • Sean Henn has pitched a little better lately, but still hasn't been good
Based on all of this, my guess is that they give Bruney a shot.  It'll be a waste, but I don't think they're ready to give up on him.  That means Henn's roster spot is freed, as he'll either be traded or waived.  That allows the Yankees to put both Ensberg and Gardner on the 40-man roster.

So, to start the season, here's my prediction:
  1. Ian Kennedy starts the season in the minors.  Why? Because he'll be the 5th starter, and they won't need him immediately.  That lets them keep both Gardner and Ensberg on the opening day roster, while Duncan and Cabrera are serving their suspensions.
  2. At the end of the three game suspension, the Yankees will have to decide what they want to do.  My guess is that Gardner then goes down to the minors at that point, assuming none of the OFs are injured.  If Matsui's injured, though, Gardner remains on the 25-man roster.
  3. Ian Kennedy is then called up.
So, the surprise man out is Ian Kennedy.  He won't really be out, he'll just be lost in the numbers game while Duncan and Melky serve their suspensions.
Category: MLB
Tags: Yankees
 
Posted on: March 10, 2008 8:27 pm
 

Yankees Sign Billy Crystal

Yankees TO SIGN BILLY CRYSTAL, STAR OF STAGE AND SCREEN,
AND INVITE HIM TO MAJOR LEAGUE SPRING TRAINING

The New York Yankees today announced that they will sign Billy Crystal, star of movies, television and Broadway to a one-day contract and invited him to Major League spring training.

Crystal will join the Yankees on Wednesday, March 12 to work out with the club at Legends Field in Tampa, Fla., and then play in the Yankees’ game on Thursday, March 13 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates at Legends Field. Commissioner Selig approved the Yankees’ extension of the contract to Crystal.

Crystal, who will turn 60 years old on March 14, will don uniform No. 60 with the Yankees. He has created one of the most versatile and prolific careers in the entertainment industry, finding success in front of the camera, as a performer in film and television, and behind the scenes as a writer, director and producer. The Hollywood icon has starred in movies such as Running Scared, Throw Momma from the Train, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, City Slickers, Mr. Saturday Night, Forget Paris, Hamlet, Deconstructing Harry, Analyze This, Monster’s Inc. and America’s Sweethearts.

“I’ve been waiting 50 years for this call,” Crystal exclaimed. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of the Yankees and Commissioner Selig. I know this’ll be tougher than the Broadway Softball League, but I’m looking forward to helping the younger players…which, by the way, is all of them. Oops, I have to go, Scott Boras is on the phone.”

A captain of his Long Beach (N.Y.) High School baseball team, Crystal batted .348 in his senior season. He is regarded as one of the best baseball players in Hollywood today.

“The Yankees are excited to welcome the newest member of our team known for his humor and wit as well as his undying love for the Yankees,” said Lonn Trost, Yankees Chief Operating Officer. “The Yankees are very grateful to the Commissioner’s office for allowing us to extend this special invitation to Mr. Crystal.”

In 2001, Crystal directed and produced the film *61 which chronicled the historic seasons of Yankees greats Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle as they sought to break Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record. The film garnered 12 Emmy nominations including nods for “Best Director” and “Best Made for Television Movie” and also earned Crystal a prestigious Director’s Guild nomination.

Crystal made his Broadway debut in 2004 with 700 Sundays, an autobiographical one-man play that became the highest grossing non-musical in the history of Broadway and garnered Crystal the Tony Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and the prestigious Drama Desk Award. A dedicated human rights advocate, Crystal co-hosted, with Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg, all eight “Comic Relief” telethons on HBO which brought the plight of the nation’s homeless to the public and raised over $40 million for housing and medical care for the needy.

A native of New York, Crystal has been married for 37 years to Janice, with whom he has two daughters, Jennifer and Lindsay, and granddaughter’s Ella and Dylan. He proclaims himself to be a lifetime fan of the New York Yankees, idolizing Mickey Mantle during his youth.

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 22, 2008 10:06 am
 

The Worst Outfield Money Can Buy

Interesting article in The Hardball Times today, www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/
thee-worst-outfield-for-the-dough/

The results were somewhat surprising to me. Here were their outfielders:

Scott Podsednik, White Sox
.243/.299/.369
-3 WSAB, $ -5.9 million WS$

Ok, not a big surprise. Podsednik's always been overrated. And in left field, he's a complete and total waste.

Jim Edmonds, Cardinals
.252/.325/.403
1 WSAB, -$4.4 WS$

Edmonds is a little more surprising. He was hurt last year though, and his production dropped. The only question remaining is whether he's done or if he has something left this year, if he's "healthy". I put healthy in quotes, because at his age, healthy doesn't mean the same thing it did five years earlier.

J.D. Drew, Red Sox
.270/.373/.423
2 WSAB, -$5.3 WS$

Ok, now I was surprised. Drew's batting numbers aren't bad, per se. But like always, he never does the "little" things, like knock in runs. He's also not hitting doubles, not hitting homers... And he hits a ton of fly balls. That's a bad combination.

Jay Gibbons, Orioles
.230/.272/.348
-3 WSAB, -$7.6 WS$

Gibbons was hurt, but he was also awful. Just awful.
 
 
 
 
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