Daily Archives: September 21, 2012

Game 150 Lineup: Athletics vs. Yankees

Lineup vs. Athletics:

Derek Jeter DH
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C
Eric Chavez 1B
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Eduardo Nunez SS

CC Sabathia LHP

Prospect Profile: 2B Angelo Gumbs

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Vitals: 6′ 1″ 185 lbs. Bats/Throws R/R  Born 10/13/92 2010 2nd round draft pick

Numbers: Gumbs made his brief debut in 2010 in short season ball for the Gulf Coast League Yankees, logging 26 PA’s after being selected in the second round and signing for a 750,000 bonus as one of the youngest players to get drafted. He got off to a slow pro career posting a .192/.222/.231/.453 slash line. The following season found him in Staten Island where he was a bit overshadowed by fellow teammates Mason Williams and Dante Bichette Jr., and put up a respectable .272/.320/.432/.752 slash, good for a wRC+ of 109 and a .341 wOBA. He struggled on the basepaths however, getting nabbed 7 times out of 18 attempts for a 61% success rate. He managed 11 doubles, 4 triples and 3 home runs over his 197 AB’s, taking 20 walks and striking out 57 times. 2012 marked his debut in full season ball at the rip old age of 19. He upped his production a bit and posted a .272/.320/.432/.752 line along with a .352 wOBA and 113 wRC+ over 257 AB’s. He showed a bit more power, hitting 7 HR’s, but the big improvement was in his baserunning as he stole 26 of 29 bags, good for a 89.7% success rate. His walk rate tumbled a bit, walking only 18 times on the season, as did his K rate ever so slightly striking out 60 times.

Skills: Originally signed as a CF’er, Gumbs has tools, but is very raw which you would expect from a kid that was drafted at 17 years old. His biggest asset is his bat speed, which Mike Newman over at Fangraphs compared with that of Bryce Harper and Mike/Giancarlo Stanton. Newman went on to say that although Gumbs can easily get his bat head through the strike zone, his high leg kick and excessive waggle in his timing mechanism keeps him from barreling the ball as well as you would expect with someone with his bat speed. He also has some work to do on his pitch recognition, as he has been noted to flail at breaking pitches out of the zone. Considering his ability to get through the zone and his quick hands, these kinds of deficiencies can be improved upon as he continues to gain experience.

Considered an above average athlete, Gumbs has moved around the field a bit before settling into second base. If he were to stick at the position he’d be considered a bat first guy, but he does have good range and a strong enough arm so as not to embarrass himself out there. He needs to work on his reaction to the ball and his somewhat stiff hands, but to be fair he hasn’t exactly spent a ton of time at second base and his athleticism and potential will allow him time to get it worked out. Speed wise, he’s looking at a 50/80 rating and has improved on his base-stealing skills at low A ball. He’s not as advanced as those who are natural to the position, but with good range, a solid arm and a smooth turn on the double play he has a good base to work with and could make big steps forward given the commitment.

Makeup: Angelo has drawn raves over his work ethic and desire; over the 2011 offseason Gumbs spent the winter adding some mass to his wiry frame and hit the batting cage to try and improve his swing. His coaches took note of this when he showed up to spring training, and it showed in his batting practice sessions as well as in the field. He still has a ways to go, but if he takes strides like this each year he may just find his way to the major leagues. As reported by Dayne Huber over at Bronx Baseball Daily, Gumbs drew praise from none other than Reggie Jackson. “Mr. October noted that he played with a lot of maturity, and was humble and appreciative of the opportunities and instruction he was getting. Jackson also went on to state that he saw potential in Gumbs on both sides of the ball.” Reggie went on to praise his approach and believes he has a great body type for a second baseman.

Overview: Like pretty much every prospect out there, Gumbs is all about dreaming on potential, but there’s plenty of it. He does have a lack of polish, but considering his age vs. level, he has plenty of projection. He could end up anywhere from an above average second baseman to a AA flameout; welcome to the world of prospects. Mike Newman drew comps of Ricky Weeks as they posted a similar OPS and shared a bit of a plate discipline issue early on, and entertained some comparisons to a young Alfonso Soriano albeit with a bit less power. These are at the top of the list though, so take them with a grain of salt. He’ll have to continue to spend time on his glove work and quiet his swing down in order to take advantage of his quick hands. The good news is that you can develop plate discipline and pitch recognition, but you can’t teach bat speed. Having the luxury of allowing the ball to travel deep into the zone is a huge bonus for him, so if he can get his leg kick down and his swing a bit more simplified he could be a real force at the plate. His lack of polish would be troublesome if it weren’t for the fact that he’s young for his level and has finally settled into a position.

Overall I believe Gumbs is one to keep an eye on. Aside from the physical tools, which are there but need to be refined, he shows a level of maturity and dedication that bode well for someone trying to climb the ladder to the majors. He’s young for his level and has yet to spend a significant amount of time at his current position so there is plenty of ceiling for him to realize. Having garnered rave reviews from his coaching staff and the likes of Mr. October himself is always a bonus, and if his future is realized by his determination and raw talent we could hear him knocking on the door behind some of our other more highly touted prospects.

If he were to roll through Tampa next season and spend a year per level from here on out he would be making a ML debut in late 2015/spring 2016 which would have him taking big level swings at age 22/23. It may seem like he’d be in the system forever, but remember, when he took his first cuts as a professional he wasn’t even allowed to buy tobacco.

It’s All About Sabathia

Tonight CC Sabathia will get another chance to prove that he is healthy and that he can be the ace the Yankees expect him to be heading down the stretch. The Yankees ace has seen a September swoon that has seen people questioning his health. He is 0-3 with a 4.67 ERA over his last four starts and he has blown leads in the last five starts. You can talk about whatever you want with the Yankees, but if Sabathia doesn’t turn this around the Yankees can forget about championship number 28.

There are many parts of this Yankees team that you can analyze, but at this point it really starts and ends with Sabathia. If he is going to continue to pitch like has over his last five starts then nothing else about the team even matters. This is not to suggest that Sabathia has had a bad season, but his 3.63 ERA is his highest since 2005. For a normal pitcher he has been fine, but as the ace of the staff Sabathia has much higher expectations, which he hasn’t reached yet.

Looking at Sabathia peripheral numbers suggest he has been a bit unlucky this season. Sabathia’s 8.64 K/9 this season is his 3rd best mark for his career and his 2.05 BB/9 is the 2nd lowest of his career. Sabathia’s LD % this season is 20%, his GB % is 48.6% and his FB % is 30.6%. For his career, Sabathia’s LD % is 20.2%, his GB% is 45.4% and his FB% is 34.4%. So to sum up, Sabathia is striking out more batters this year, walking less batters, getting batters to line out at about the same rate, getting more ground balls and getting less fly outs, but he is having an off year by his standards. Doesn’t make sense does it?

The main difference between Sabathia this year and previous seasons are home runs. Sabathia’s HR/FB ratio is a gaudy 13.8%, which is the highest mark of his career by far. That would seem to be unlucky because he is allowing less fly balls this year than normal. Sabathia’s 3.30 xFIP would also suggest that he has been unlucky this season. This is not to make excuses for Sabathia in anyway shape or form, it is just pointing that he has probably pitched better this year then his numbers look on the surface. Sabathia’s xFIP of 3.30 is better than Hiroki Kuroda’s mark of 3.63, yet everybody has been raving about Kuroda this year and rightfully so. It all comes down to expectations. Coming from the NL West expectations for Kuroda were modest, even though I had a lot faith in him personally. The expectations for Sabathia were much greater so even though Kuroda has had better results than CC this season, there has not been as great of a difference in their pitching as the perception is.

The main reason that people question whether Sabathia is healthy is because of his fastball velocity. His fastball velocity is down to 92.3 MPH as compared to 93.4 MPH for his career. This has led to his fastball being a very ineffective pitch this season. Fangraph’s pitch value has Sabathia’s fastball at a brutal -15.6. Sabathia’s pitch value for his fastball for his Yankees career before this season had been 8.1. This is what has Yankee fans concerned about his future. If Sabathia is really hurt then hopefully he gets that velocity back next season. But, if the loss of velocity is due to the wear and tear of pitching a lot of innings of a long career, then who knows if it will come back. He will need to start using his fastball more effectively if he wants to improve.

The Yankees starting pitching is probably the best part of their team right now. Kuroda and Phil Hughes have done a good job consistently for a long period of time now. Andy Pettitte looked like the Pettite of old before he got hurt this season and Ivan Nova looked like a new pitcher on his first start of the DL. However, none of this matters unless Sabathia pitches to his capabilities.  He has had a disappointing season so far, but there are still many important games left to be pitched. Sabathia still has an opportunity to earn his ace card back this season. Will he?

Morning Bits: Jeter on another team?, Cano Rumor, Tex and more..

Sticking with the old mug for good luck

Yankees did a great job with sweeping the Jays they are currently one game up on the O’s.   The Yankees now begin a series with the A’s.  On the mound tonight is Sabathia vs Parker.  Game time is scheduled for 7:05PM EST.  The O’s begin a series with the Red Sox.

Enjoy the weekend.  Now for some links…

Bryan Hoch of mlb.com has the recap of last night’s game.

Joey Nowak of mlb.com has the preview of tonight’s game.

Anthony McCarron of The Daily News writes that Jeter say’s he is open to play for another team.

The Daily News also reports that Mark Teixeira will not commit to any timetable for his return.

Ken Davidoff of The New York Post shares his thought about the Cano rumor from yesterday.