Daily Archives: March 22, 2012
David Phelps was scheduled to make the start for the Yankees tonight, but Mother Nature had other plans. Phelp’s wife was giving birth which prompted Phelps to back out of his start. Adam Warren was squeezed in to make the emergency start and Warren did not disappoint whatsoever as he was able to shut down the Red Sox in his 4 innings of work.
The last time the Yankees and Red Sox met up with one another, the Red Sox defeated the Yankees 1-0. This time, the ending was completely different. The Yankees & Red Sox ended up in a tie after Joe Girardi called it off after 9 innings. For comedic relief, Bobby Valentine wanted to keep going and tire out the Yankees. Oh Bobby…it’s Spring Training. Let it go.
Warren only allowed 2 hits and no runs in his 4 innings of work while looking effectively sharp against the Red Sox everyday hitters. Dellin Betances pitched 3 innings without giving up any runs, but his Achilles heel tonight was walk. Betances gave up 4 walks in 3 innings. Cory Wade struggled in the 8th inning. ending the shutout by allowing 3 runs to the Red Sox. Juan Cedeno came in after Wade was only able to go 0.2 of an inning, getting the final batter in the 8th. George Kontos came in during the 9th but allowed the tying run for the Red Sox to score which resulted in the Yankees tie.
THE GOOD: Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner & Andruw Jones all had a hit in tonight’s game (Granderson a RBI triple, Gardner a hard clean single & Jones had a single). CC Sabathia started today vs. Double-A in an attempt to hide his pitches from the Red Sox. Sabathia allowed 1 run on 5 hits, gave up a walk and had 4 strikeouts. Girardi didn’t see Sabathia’s outing and joined Gardner & Granderson in Ft. Meyers but he jokingly said that this Sabathia kid has a shot of making the rotation. You know what Joe? I’ll go a step further. I say this Sabathia kid will be an ace.
THE BAD: Raul Ibanez went hit-less again, his average in the Spring being a dismal .054. Is it too late to try to persuade Jorge Posada to come out of retirement? Cory Wade also did not look sharp, allowing 3 runs in the Red Sox 8th inning and not being able to finish the inning. There were also some base blunders today as both Eric Chavez & Andruw Jones were picked off by Red Sox starter Aaron Cook. Guys, leave the stolen base attempts to Gardner & Granderson, okay?
WHAT’S NEXT: Tomorrow is a Split Squad game which means 2 games at once. Here is also some exciting news. Mason Williams will play in Tampa vs. the Twins while Yankees first round 2011 prospect Dante Bichette Jr. will head to Clearwater and join the other half of the Yankees for the game vs. the Phillies. The game vs. the Twins will broadcast on YES & MLB.TV while the game @ the Phillies will be only on MLB.TV.
My weekly series of highlighting a prospect continues with pitcher Nik Turley.
Drafted by the Yankees in the 50th round of 2008 Draft.
* Our very own fishjam ranked him number 20 in his top 40 Yankee prospects. Here is what he had to say about him, “6’7″ lefty reminds me a little of Andy Pettitte. Took a step forward with 2.51 ERA and 8.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 82 IP in Charleston til a broken hand ended his season after being promoted to Tampa.
* Seedlings 2 Stars recently said this about Turley who didn’t rank on the top 100 prospects for them. “I should emphasize something here–just because I considered a guy for the top 100 doesn’t mean he necessarily would rank above everyone I didn’t consider. Just because Turley is one of four Yankees I considered for the top 100 but snubbed doesn’t mean I’d call him a top-eight prospect in the system. In any case, though, the idea of a 6’7″ lefty with plus command and a solid three-pitch mix made me consider him for a few seconds. He put up a 2.51 ERA while striking out a batter per inning in Low-A as a 21-year-old, and I’ve always loved him as a sleeper, but he still has more to prove”.
* The Yankee Analysts all picked sleeper candidates for this year and writer Brad Vietrogoski had Turley as his sleeper here is what he said, “In a farm system flush with high-ceiling talent at all levels right now, it’s easy for someone like Nik Turley to get lost in the shuffle. Drafted in 2008 in the 50th round, Turley spent his 2009 and 2010 campaigns in the short-season leagues before finally making his full-season debut in 2011 for Low-A Charleston. In 82.1 innings pitched over 15 starts for Charleston, Turley posted a 2.51 ERA/3.53 FIP slash with 8.96 K/9 and 2.30 BB/9, earning himself a promotion to High-A Tampa. He made just two starts there before suffering a season-ending broken pitching hand, but Turley did enough to get himself noticed after two years of up-and-down performances in the SS leagues and will be looking to build off of that momentum when he opens 2012 back in Tampa. As a lefty in a very righty-heavy farm system right now, Turley has a chance to make a big jump up everybody’s prospect lists for next season.
The interesting thing about Turley, and the thing that excites me the most about him, is the fact that he’s almost the exact opposite of most other big-time pitching prospects. Where most come in with an above-average or better fastball and offspeed stuff that needs work, Turley’s fastball is actually his weakest pitch, sitting in the high 80s most of the time. He makes up for that by having very good command of the pitch and by having a very good curveball and an effective changeup. Turley is a huge dude at 6’6″, and he can create a lot of problems for hitters with his size and arm angle, especially if he can tighten up his mechanics and consistently sit low-90s with the heater. An improved fastball combined with a curveball and change that he’ll continue to refine would make Turley a left hander with three above-average pitches and plus command, and that combination can wreak havoc on hitters at the lower levels. He’s flown a little under the radar so far, but I expect the pitching coaches at Tampa to make Turley a pet project of theirs this season and for him to force himself into the discussion for next year’s top 15-20 with another good year this year.”
* Mike Axisa from River Ave Blues ranked Turley at 22nd on his top 30 prospects for 2012. Here is what he had to say about him, “The 1,502nd of 1,504 players drafted in 2008, Turley finally escaped the short season leagues in 2011 and was in the middle of a breakout season when a line drive broke his pitching hand in early-July. His strikeout (8.73 K/9 and 23.1 K%) and walk (2.2 BB/9 and 5.8 BB%) rates made significant progress in 17 starts for Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, though his fastball is his worst pitch. Turley — who is listed at 6-foot-6 and 230 lbs. — will sit in the high-80s and touch 92 on occasion, instead relying on downward plane and his the ability to dot the corners. His big breaking curveball is his best offering, and his fastball plays up because his changeup is so effective. He could add some velocity if he tightens up his delivery, which tends to fall out of whack from time to time. Turley will return to Tampa to open the season and could be in line for a midseason promotion. He will be Rule 5 Draft eligible next winter, so a big season will force the Yankees to think long and hard about adding him to the 40-man roster.”
RHP Adam Warren
— Tonight’s game is on ESPN & YES Network at 7:05pm. David Phelps was previously scheduled to pitch but Adam Warren will start the game today instead.
Yankees changed their starting pitcher for tonight from David Phelps to Adam Warren. Phelps’ wife is giving birth.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 22, 2012
Enjoy the game everyone!
1B – Mark Teixeira
The issue with Tex has been well documented – he needs to start to use the whole field as a Lefty hitter. He hit .224 vs RHP because he tries to pull everything and hits the ball in the air too much. We’ve seen some positive signs from him this Spring with a couple of opposite field hits and he must carry this into the season.
This is probably the #1 most important key to the Yankee offense. No player has as much room for improvement than Tex. He was a career .290 hitter when he came to the Yanks who hit over .300 3 times in his career. The difference between him continuing to hit in the .240’s-.250’s and him hitting around .290-.300 would be immense. He drove in 111 runs last yr hitting .248 so there’s no doubt he could have a monster season if he starts using the whole field and gets that BA up.
2B – Robinson Cano
Cano is clearly the Yankees best player and he will finally be featured as such – hitting in the all important 3-hole. Cano will have the protection of ARod & Tex batting behind him instead of Swisher & Posada so he should see some more strikes. The key for Cano – probably his only room for improvement – is to swing at his pitches. He’s such an aggressive hitter and he can drive pitches out of the zone but he still must be patient enough to accept the walk when pitchers aren’t giving him anything. The difference between his career yr in 2010 and last yr was he struck out more (77 to 96) and walked less (57 to 38). His output numbers (HR, RBI, Runs) were nearly identical but this led to a lower ratios in BA, OBP & OPS.
No doubt Cano is one of the best hitters in baseball but for him to have a truly elite season he needs to accept those walks, which should be easier for him to do knowing he has better hitters behind him. Cano was 4th in MLB last yr in driving in runners other than himself (OBI%). That means he makes the most of his RBI opportunities and drives in runners with base hits other than HRs. He plated 20.4% of his base runners in 2011. If he can become a little more selective, his RBI’s could take a big jump hitting 3rd.
The simple thing for Jeter is to say hit like he did in the 2nd half. That’s obvious, but what made him successful after a dismal 1st half? Jeter was a ground ball machine early in the yr. He was jumping at the ball and hitting weak ground ball after weak ground ball. After making adjustments with Gary Denbo, he started staying back and driving the ball more which led to his revival. Last yr, Jeter hit .261 when hitting the ball on the ground and a whopping .341 on fly balls. That’s an incredible figure considering he only hit 6 HRs.
But I think the best way to get production out of SS is controlled by Joe Girardi. Jeter is 38 yrs old and can’t be expected to play 155 games at SS anymore. Nunez has all the skills needed to be a good SS and he needs to be utilized to nurture those skills.
The question is when to use Nunez and rest Jeter? Well, for the last 3 yrs Jeter has 2 clear areas where he struggles – in Night Games & vs RHP. It’s clear Jeter doesn’t see the ball as well at night as he’s aging. Last yr he hit .361 with a .945 OPS in Day games – in 2010 it was .315/.824 and 2009 was .348/.906. Those are mind-boggling numbers and they encompass over 700 PAs worth of data over the last 3 yrs. For whatever reason, he doesn’t perform as well during night games so Girardi needs to maximize Jeter’s strengths by using Nunez at night vs RHP about 40 times this yr.
3B – Alex Rodriguez
We all know the key for Alex is health. He was a shell of himself at the end of last yr when he returned from knee and thumb issues. While the days of him dominating the league with 50+HRs and hitting over .300 are over he needs to be at least a solid .285-25 player for the Yanks to click. I go back and forth on whether I think they should let him play like a regular until an injury occurs or whether they should baby him with lots of rest. I’m now at the point where I don’t think you can baby him and hope he doesn’t get hurt – that never works. They are going to have to play him at 3B regularly with occasional days off and days at DH.
The main area ARod can improve on is vs LHP. Lefties have been able to get in on him and get in his kitchen far too easily. Scouts/teams realize that Alex can’t clear his hips the way he used to when he was younger and healthier. He’s looked much quicker at clearing his hips this ST but he looked great last spring too. He hit just 2 HRS vs LHP last yr with an anemic .383 SLG%. He needs to turn on the inside pitch and stay back and drive the outside pitch to CF and RCF the way he used to.