Monthly Archives: September 2012
Lineup vs. Twins:
Phil Hughes RHP
— The Yankees have activated both RP David Aardsma and OF Brett Gardner from the 60 day disabled list. Steve Pearce and Justin Thomas are not listed on the 40 man roster so it’s presumed that those two are the roster moves for Aardsma and Gardner.
It is obvious that the first goal for the Yankees is to lock up the AL East. The Yankees need to avoid that one game playoff at all costs because anything can happen in that game. Also, even if they were to win that game their rotation would be messed up going into the ALDS. It is pretty safe to assume that the Yankees will at least be playing in the wild card game, as it would take an epic collapse with an easy schedule for them to miss the playoffs completely. So, there are a lot of races in the other divisions that have a big impact on the Yankees having a successful playoff run.
In my opinion, there are two teams that the Yankees really do not want to see get into the playoffs. They’re the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Those two teams have given the Yankees issues in the past and are both loaded with talent. They have both underachieved this year, but are both much more scary than the White Sox, Orioles or A’s. The A’s, Orioles and White Sox are nice stories this year, but they really do not have the Yankees shaking in a potential playoff series.
Right now, Chicago is one game ahead of Detroit and the Orioles and A’s are two games ahead of the Angels. The Rays are only three games out, but it is a long shot now that they get in. Those races are huge for the Yankees as well as their own race. Their chances of making the World Series in a bracket that includes the Rangers, White Sox, and the A’s or Orioles are much higher than if the Tigers or Angels get in the playoffs. Detroit has three players in Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder that can carry a team in a short series. They also finally have a legit #2 starter in Max Scherzer to go along with Verlander. Their defense is their issue, but the Yankees don’t really have the speed to make that a big deal. The Angels still have great starting pitchers in Jered Weaver, Zach Greinke, CJ Wilson, and Dan Haren to go along with hitters like Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo. That is a lot of firepower. The A’s, Orioles and White Sox just don’t have that kind of talent and experience.
What do you guys think? Where do the Yankees stack up with the rest of the AL teams and which teams would you prefer to see in the playoffs?
Ichiro’s inspired performance over the last week has fans dreaming what he could possibly do with a full season in Yankee Stadium. The popular thought is that Ichiro’s decline the past 2 seasons has been more a matter of motivation, or lack there of in Seattle, than the fact that he’s a soon to be 39-year-old player whose game is built largely on speed. Ichiro has helped jump-start the team’s recent hot streak (10-2 over last 12) and has some thinking that this team’s starting lineup should be brought back intact next season. But what about Brett Gardner who has been the starting LF the last 2 years and the only Yankees starter 28 or under coming into this season?
Some are saying Brett has to prove himself all over again and are bringing up the same 4th Outfielder talk that dogged him his rookie year. Has everyone forgotten how stagnant and one-dimensional the Yankees offense has been much of this year? Or that the average age of the roster is more than 3 yrs older than any team in the A.L.? Or that the Yankees have had ZERO production from the bottom of the order this yr without Gardner?
This season, Yankees #8 hitters have a .293 OBP/.665 OPS & #9 hitters have a .307 OBP/.694 OPS. Without Gardner batting 9th as the second leadoff man, the bottom of the order has been station to station and stagnant. As a result, our best hitter this year – Derek Jeter – has only 57 RBI despite leading MLB in PA (697) and hits (207) and hitting .317 with RISP. Despite having a tremendous season, he is driving in Runs at the worst rate of his career with just 1 RBI per 12 Plate Appearances. It’s not because he isn’t hitting, it’s because he hasn’t had many runners on base and the ones that are on base are not good baserunners. Jeter has only had 331 runners on base in his 697 PAs. The MLB average for a player with 697 PAs should be 414 baserunners. The players Jeter has driven in the most this season (besides himself) are Martin, Stewart & Ichiro – 5 times each. By comparison, he’s driven in Gardner 3 times THIS yr despite Brett only playing 9 games! You think Jeter misses the opportunity to drive Gardner in?
Gardner has a career .355 OBP. This season only Jeter and Cano have better OBP than that (both around .364). Putting someone who gets on base like that in the 9-hole in front of Jeter will give this team the circular lineup they’ve lacked. Brett’s never going to be a HR hitter but he is one of top 5 players in MLB in pitches seen per PA, Stolen Bases, Defensive Runs Saved, UZR AND he is in his prime at 28. For a team trying to get younger,more athletic and lower payroll, Gardner is the only potential starter they have to fit that description. He’s still affordable at $2.8 M with a slight raise next yr. Ichiro will be 39 and made $17 Million this yr. If he wants to come back with the Yanks how much of a pay cut will he accept? Will he accept a 50% pay cut to $8.5M which is 3 times the cost of Gardner?
But this isn’t meant to disparage Ichiro, just to point out Brett is sorely missed. At this point in their careers, Gardner and Ichiro are very similar players with Ichiro getting the edge in hitting for average. Brett’s a .265 career hitter who should improve now in his prime while Ichiro has hit .277 over his last 2 years and will be 39 next yr. Brett gets on base more, steals more, hits for a higher OPS and plays better defense than a 39-yr old Ichiro. But IMO there should NOT even be a question of Brett or Ichiro. Brett is guaranteed a spot on this team next yr. The question will be Swisher or Ichiro?
I really can’t see Swisher staying. He’s talking a Jayson Werth-type about a $100 Million+ contract. When looking for a similar aged player with similar stats, Andre Ethier is a great comparison and he signed a 5 year, $85M deal with an option yr that makes it 6 yrs $100M if healthy. And that was an extension without hitting the open market. That is what Swisher will be looking for and expect some team to go AT LEAST 4 yrs $60M. With the new TV deal MLB just signed, every team in baseball gets double the national TV revenue and many others are copying the Yankees YES model and signing their own massive Regional TV deals. Teams are looking to SPEND with the exception of the Yankees who are looking to cut some $30-40 Million of their payroll. With that in mind and all of the long/lucrative contracts on the books, i don’t see the Yankees adding to that with Swisher. I expect Cashman to pull off a trade for a moderately priced young veteran OR look to bring a veteran in on a 1-year deal. He’ll offer Swish the 1 yr $13 Million qualifier which he’ll decline. It may come down to bringing Ichiro back to play his natural RF spot or possibly someone like Tori Hunter.
But what is your opinion? What should the Yankees OF look like next year given their financial constraints? If Ichiro is brought back, will it be at the expense of Brett, Swish or Granderson? Or can Ichiro be brought back to play the Raul Ibanez role to play vs RHP? Also, has Ichiro’s massive week changed your opinion of him that he is more than the player he’s shown the last 2 years in Seattle?
Lineup vs. Twins:
Derek Jeter SS
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Raul Ibanez RF
Russell Martin C
Eric Chavez 3B
Andy Pettitte LHP
“Change” was the theme of 2012 for the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Aside from the usual roster changes a minor league club goes through, the AAA affiliate to the Bronx Bombers underwent a change of scenery, their president/general manager as well as ownership, and are going to announce a new name for the club which was chosen by the fans. For the team without a home in a state of flux, the results were not at all disappointing. They shrugged off the obstacles of traveling constantly, losing their two top hitters and watching their pitching get decimated by promotions, failures and injuries.
For starters, Kristen Rose, team president of the SWB Yankees resigned in April, accepting a job with Mandalay Baseball Properties to be closer to family. Mandalay is part of the Yankee conglomerate, so it was somewhat of a lateral move for Kristen. As the season got rolling the team searched for a new leader and in July they named Rob Crain as the new president/general manager. Crain is an import from the Omaha Storm Chasers, an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals where he served as the assistant GM for four years. Crain however, grew up in enemy territory; “As a kid growing up 20 minutes away from Fenway Park, never in my wildest dreams did I think i’d thank the New York Yankees for anything”. Jeremy Ruby, former GM, will be joining Crain as part of the new leadership team. He’d been itching to get back with the club, and with a rebuilt stadium in the works this was the perfect time. The two are focused on engaging the community and bringing the fans back to the park.
Also announced this April, the sale of the SWB Yankees was made official. Negotiations had gone on for nearly two years, as the Lackawana County Multipurpose Stadium Authority finally signed off on a $14.6M sale to SWB Yankees LLC. A little strange seeing as how they will no longer be the “Yankees” but no less official. SWB LLC is a division of mandalay Baseball Properties which is a part of the Steinbrenner family holdings. The proceeds of the sale will be put towards the $43.3M renovation of PNC park, which was long overdue and should breathe some new life into the AAA club.
This brings us to the ballpark. The Yankees spent the entire 144 game season on the road, playing many of their “home” games in Rochester. They attempted to call Riverfront Stadium in Newark their temporary home, but the plan was corrupted by the Mets, who share territorial rights to the metropolitan area. Thanks for nothing guys, enjoy wallowing in mediocrity. The 12 month construction plan is a bit tight, but they are moving quickly and so far are on schedule for opening day. “The fans, when they walk in the door, are going to be inundated with the sights, the sounds, the smells, the entire fan experience” Crain said. “It’s going to be very, very minor league and when I say that, it’s going to be all about the fans and all about what they want”. The Yankees will pay $750,000 annually over the 30 year lease, which could extend to 50 years. Ownership has also agreed to contribute to maintanance and ballpark repairs. The official MiL site of the SWB Yankees has a link that directs to a live webcam to catch a peek of the construction; check it out if you get a chance.
Performance wise, the Yankees held their own despite the roster being picked apart by trades, promotions and poor performance. On the hitting side the Yankees released Jorge Vasquez, the AAA version of Adam Dunn who went back to the Mexican League. They lost another bat due to “The Trade”, as the chosen one Jesus Montero was shipped off to Seattle along with starter Hector Noesi. Austin Romine was also a no-show, spending the majority of the season with an ailing back. Like the big club, SWB had some side pieces step up and contribute; veterans Jack Cust and Russell Branyan did their share, while Chris Dickerson and Steve Pearce (both now rocking the pinstripes) filled out the run producers. Dickerson ended the year with a .316/.417/.515/.932 slash line, along with 24 doubles, 4 triples, 7 HR’s and 17 SB’s. Not be left unnoticed, Ronnier Mustelier hit his way through the system, parking himself in Scranton and opening the eyes of the higher ups in the organization. He put up a .303/.359/.455.815 line with 21 doubles, a triple, 10 HR’s, and 7 SB in SWB. Ronnier could make a play for a utility role in the Bronx next year so keep an eye out for him. Corban Joseph has also come along this year showing some excellent patience at the plate. He pushed his way to Scranton half way through the season and hit .266/.366/.474/.840 with 13 bombs and 25 doubles win AAA. His 53/57 BB/K ratio was the best on the team and is a great sign for a big league hopeful. As a team they finished off the year with a .260/.344/.403 slash line which led the league in OBP, and coincidentally led in walks with 598. They hit 128 home runs and stole a fair amount of bases, 101, which was good for fourth in the IL.
The pitching was also picked apart; David Phelps made his impression in spring training and broke camp with the big club. Hector Noesi was shipped off to Seattle in an attempt to balance the trade after Jose Campos was tossed into the mix and DJ Mitchell later joined Hector as he was traded for some guy named Ichiro!. Dellin Betances continued to fall after his 2010 breakout and now has completely forgotten how to throw strikes. He’s going to the AFL later this year, and hopefully it’s to learn to pitch one inning at a time out of the bullpen. His concentration over several innings is said to be lacking, so maybe he can excell out of the pen. If he can’t, it will be all but goodbye Dellin. Adam Warren ended up as the last of the young guns in the rotation. He had a rocky start, and an ugly debut with the parent club but finished the season at 7-8 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. He struck out 107 batters and walked 46. Veterans Ramon Ortiz and John Maine filled out the roster. Chase Whitley pitched well out of the pen, appearing in 41 games putting up a 3.25 ERA over 80.1 innings with a 1.07 WHIP, striking out 66 and walking 25. As a team, the Yankees ended up with a 3.86 ERA and 1052 strikeouts, both good for sixth in the International League. They were in the middle of the pack in WHIP and HR’s allowed posting a 1.35 team mark and giving up 112 long balls, and were near the bottom in walks, allowing 486 free passes.
The big story was Manny Banuelos, ranked the second best lefty prospect in baseball and the youngest player in AAA, who had a rough go of it this season. As the team moved north he suffered a pulled muscle that manager Dave Miley attributed to the horrid weather they faced; at one point he was noted as sitting in the stands shivering and miserable. He’s going to have to get used to the weather and possibly take the precautions to be more prepared/stretched out before he throws. After coming back from the lat injury Manny found his command and threw 14.2 innings without issuing a walk while striking out 15. Miley noted that Manny had been nibbling the year before and was working on a fourth pitch (a slider/cutter) while seeing a slight uptick in velocity, so the lack of command was neither surprising nor alarming. His next start would be his last, as he went on the DL with elbow inflammation. While “change” was the theme of the SWB Yankees, “injury” was the theme of the entire organization in 2012. Let’s hope next year plays out a bit differently eh?
The Yankees ended up with a record of 84-60, good enough to take the North Division and head to the playoffs. Manager Dave Miley did an outstanding job holding the club together, as they traveled over 16,000 miles this season; the nomadic tribe took it in stride and according to various twitter accounts, morale was not an issue. While they fell to the Pawtucket red Sox in the first round of playoffs, the season was still a success. I’ll be looking forward to the new digs and some new faces in 2013. Stay tuned this winter as we here at YFU bring you more coverage on the SWB Yankees and the rest of the MiL affiliate clubs.
This week it’s all about the playoff races and Miguel Cabrera on the verge of accomplishing something that hasn’t been done since 1967.
Miggy, Miggy, Miggy
Being a baseball fan these days is tough. Poor umpiring, increased interleague games looming, a ridiculous addition of a second wildcard team(when many of us didn’t even like the addition of the first wildcard), positive tests for PED’s, etc. have made it challenging for fans to partake in the pure joy that baseball used to offer in its glory days.
Any baseball fan under the age of 45 wasn’t even born the last time a player won baseball’s Triple Crown. Any baseball fan between 45 and 55 probably has a hard time remembering when Carl Yastremski won the Triple Crown in the 1967 MLB season. Nine days from now, around 11:10 PM EDT, the anointing of the first Triple Crown winner of my lifetime will take place in Kansas City.
Miguel Cabrera has an 8 point lead in the batting title race in the American League. He also has a 10 RBI lead over Josh Hamilton in the RBI title race, and is currently tied with Hamilton for the home run title race.
With Josh Hamilton being injured and his return unsure, it appears that Miguel Cabrera has done it, he’s going to end the drought. Bolstering Cabrera’s chances of winning the Triple Crown is the fact that he will be facing 10 games worth of Kansas City and Minnesota pitching. The Royals and Twins are currently 10th and 13th in the AL in team ERA.
While the playoff races are gathering almost all of the hype, the biggest story of the year is Cabrera. In the last 45 years some pretty incredible players have graced the game with their presence. None of those players accomplished what Cabrera is about to do.
Hopefully, MLB and the media who are hyping the playoff races nonstop, will give this accomplishment its proper coverage.
Make sure you mark 8:10 PM EDT on October 3rd on your calendars. At that time, you can turn on your television and watch the last game of Cabrera’s incredible season and say that you witnessed the coronation of the first Triple Crown winner since 1967. Whether or not you like Cabrera, this is an event that no baseball fan should miss. Things you wait a lifetime for are the things that should be most cherished.
If The Playoffs Began Today
In the AL:
The Orioles would host the A’s in a one game playoff in Baltimore to determine who would host the Rangers in the first two games of a best-of-five series.
The White Sox would host the Yankees in the first two games of a best-of-five series.
In the NL:
The Braves would host the Cardinals in a one game playoff in Atlanta to determine who would host the Nationals in the first two games of a best-of-five series.
The Giants would host the Reds in the first two games of a best-of-five series.
The NL races are down to seedings and who will get the last wildcard.
The Giants have closed to within 3 1/2 games of the Nats and 3 games of the Reds for the first two seeds. Those three teams can still wind up in any order for the top three seeds.
The Braves are as good as home free with a magic number of 1 to make the playoffs.
The Cards have a two and a half game lead over the Brewers and a three game lead over the Dodgers for the second wildcard position but the Cardinals are far from home as they clearly possess the hardest remaining schedule.
The Cardinals have three road games against the Astros before returning home for a six game home stand against the Nationals and Reds. With the Reds and Nats battling for the 1 seed, it is very unlikely that either will lay down for the Cards. It is conceivable that the Cards tough road home could allow the Brewers and/or Dodgers to run them down if they can play 7-3 and 7-2 baseball respectively as they end their seasons.
The AL races for the East and Central are as up in the air as they were last week at this time.
The White Sox are still clinging to a one game lead in the Central despite losing their last five games. The White Sox have a seven game home stand starting today that consists of three games with the Indians and four games with Tampa Bay before heading to Cleveland to play the Indians again in their final three games.
The Tigers play their final four home games starting today against Kansas City. The Tigers then head to Minnesota to play three games and then to Kansas City to play three games.
The Yankees have a one game lead over the Orioles in the East. The Yankees head to Minnesota to play three games that will be followed by four games in Toronto before heading home to finish the season with three games against the Red Sox.
The Orioles play four games against Toronto that start today with a doubleheader. The Orioles then host the Red Sox for three games before ending their season in Tampa with three games against the Rays. The series with the Rays becomes an obstacle for the Orioles if the Rays can close their gap with the Orioles to three games or less before that series begins. If the Rays can do that, they will control their destiny in that last series against the O’s at home.
The A’s rough schedule has gotten to them as of late, but they still hold the second wildcard slot by two and a half games over the Angels and three and a half games over the Rays. The A’s start a four game series with the Rangers tonight before heading home to finish the season with three games with Seattle and three with Texas. The last series with Texas becomes easier if Texas already has the one seed wrapped up and rests their starters. That is unlikely, as the Yankees have closed to within two games of Texas and hold the tiebreaker on Texas for the one seed after taking the regular season series over Texas four games to three games.
The Angels have been playing well but their schedule will make it very hard to close enough ground to garner a spot in the postseason. The Angels have three games with the Mariners and then head to Texas to play the Rangers in a three game set before finishing their season in Seattle with three more games with the Mariners. The Angels will face King Felix in both series with Seattle.
The Yankees had a stellar week this week by winning all six of their games. They needed each and every one of those wins as Baltimore kept pace with them and are still only a game out despite this streak by the Yankees. There were a lot of amazing moments this week from Ichiro’s amazing double header, Russell Martin’s walk-off home run, CC Sabathia returning to form, and a game yesterday that will instantly be a Yankees classic. Wednesday’s double header featured two nail biting games that required two Rafael Soriano saves, including a four out save in the first game, and Ichiro having his first big Yankee moment. Yesterday after allowing the A’s to score four runs in the top of the 13th the Yankees responded by tying the game on a two- run home run to tie it. Then in the bottom of the 14th Alex Rodriguez had the game winning hit, but Melky Mesa, making his first MLB appearance, missed third base. Eduardo Nunez reached on an error two batters later and the Yankees were victorious. That win, combined with Martin’s game winning home run, really showed great resiliency by the Yankees. It’s the type of resiliency and toughness that they will need to win in October. The Week 20 Yankees Player of the Week nominees are CC Sabathia, David Phelps, Nick Swisher, and Ichiro Suzuki.
The Case For Sabathia: CC Sabathis showed on Friday that he still has the ability to be the Yankees ace. Sabathia quieted the critics who thought he was hurt by throwing has fastball as fast as 95 MPH and by featuring a devastating slider. He pitched eight shutout innings, allowed only three hits, and he struck out 11. Sabathia did not get the win, but that is meaningless as he finally pitched like the Yankees need him to.
The Case For Phelps: The Yankees really needed David Phelps to give them a big performance in the backend of the double header and he delivered. Phelps pitched 6.2 innings, allowed one run on three hits and struck out six. Phelps helped conserve the bullpen after they used a lot of pitchers during the first game of the double header.
The Case For Swisher: Swisher has been struggling for awhile now but he finally produced a solid week. Swisher hit .333 on the week, with 1 HR and 5 RBI. The one home run was a big one, as it was a grand slam that propelled the Yankees to a sweep of Toronto. Swisher is now on a five game hitting streak.
The Case For Ichiro: Ichiro probably had the greatest week a Yankee has this year and maybe in a long time. Ichiro hit .583 on the week, with 2 HR’s, 5 SB’s and 5 RBI. He went an amazing 7-8 in the double header and was obviously the main reason they won both games, as the rest of the lineup did very little that day. The lowest number of hits he had in a game this week was two.
In a runaway, the Week 20 Yankees Player of the Week is Ichiro Suzuki.
Brett Gardner had been on an up and down roller-coaster in 2012. When we first hear of Gardner, it was during 2012 Spring Training when he told reporters that he wanted to have a good season after coming off a so-so 2011. 9 games into 2012, it was the last the Yankees had seen Gardner for a while. Gardner suffered 3 set-backs on the road back to the Yankees which prompted him to get surgery on his elbow in July. Since then, Gardner had been rehabbing to get back into playing shape and surprisingly, Gardner is willing to come back but in the role that he had during the 2009 postseason; pinch runner and defense.
Now, I’m not going to deny it. I’m a gigantic fan of Brett Gardner since he single-handedly shifts the dynamics of the team, but I’m not entirely sure that Gardner returning to the Yankees this season is the best idea. Yes, Gardner’s speed can help the Yankees in the postseason (should they make it) and for the duration of the rest of the season, but we have to look at the big picture here. Gardner can’t hit the baseball right now, even if he wanted to. Gardner had just began a hitting program so, him hitting by the end of the season or the postseason is out of the question right now.
If I’m the Yankees, I wouldn’t allow Gardner to play until next season when he’s able to hit 100%. There’s no reason to rush Gardner back in the outfield if the Yankees would have to replace him when his spot in the lineup came up. Also, it would be unfortunate for Gardner to suffer another injury in the outfield when he’s already nursing his elbow. If Gardner suffered another injury, then he could be out longer than the Yankees want.
I say, let Gardner take the rest of the year off, get him a hitting program in the off-season, get him to 100% health and then let him come back next year. Gardner would be of better use to the Yankees if he could hit, field without worrying about the elbow and steal bases.
If you were the Yankees, would you play Brett Gardner for the remainder of the season despite him not being able to hit, or would you wait next season? Sound off in the comments below.
Here is the lineup….
Derek Jeter SS
Ichiro Suzuki CF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Casey McGehee 1B
Jayson Nix 3B
Andruw Jones LF
Chris Stewart C
Ivan Nova RHP
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.