In George We Trust
A(nother) blog about the most storied franchise in sports
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Time for a new SS?
Steve over at Was Watching discusses the possibility of Jeter moving off short:
Wild thought of the moment: If New York does become concerned about Jeter's defense at SS, then sign Julio Lugo after the season.

Lugo, while not in the class of Adam Everett or Jack Wilson with the glove at SS, would be an improvement over Jeter.

Then you move Jeter to 2B in 2007. And, you can either trade Cano (who would be a legit trading chip - given his age and contract) or move Cano to the OF in 2007. (With Sheffield - assuming they extend him - becoming the full-time DH in 2007.) Cano goes to LF and you move Matsui to RF.
I know that many are thinking now "What about A-Rod at SS?" While that might make some sense, I don't see Jeter moving off SS for Alex. Yes, it's an ego thing. Think Derek doesn't have an ego? He might move for a new free agent or a kid coming up, but, with A-Rod, that's an admission of "He's better than me" that I think Jeter would have a hard time accepting.

I completely agree about the whole "admitting A-Rod is better than him" thing, but I just can't see the Yankees asking Jeter to change positions with what he is to the franchise. I could see him moving if he volunteers to shift to 2B, but I think that's the only way a position change for Cap'n Clutch is going to go down.

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus (7-5 loss to Indianapolis)
Melky Cabrera: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 3B
Russ Johnson: 0 for 5
Kevin Thompson: 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 1 for 5
Danny Garcia: 1 for 3, 2 RBI
Matt DeSalvo: 4 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K - 7-2 GB/FB ratio
Colter Bean: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Scott Erickson: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K - 14 of 18 pitches were strikes

Double-A Trenton (4-2 win over New Britain)
Justin Christian: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B
Shelley Duncan: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Tyler Clippard: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 HB
Francisco Butto: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K - 0-4 GB/FB ratio

High-A Tampa (6-2 loss to Sarasota)
Brett Gardner: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 2 K - miscalculation on my part yesterday, hit streak ends at 12 (not 13)
Cody Ehlers: 0 for 2, 2 BB
Tim Battle: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 CS - BA at .125, highest it's been all year
Irwil Rojas: 2 for 3
Jeff Marquez: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K - 8-0 GB/FB ratio, strongest outing of the season

Low-A Charleston (4-3 win over Kannapolis)
Austin Jackson: 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 SB
Jose Tabata: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB - took over league lead in RBI
Jose Gil: 0 for 4, 1 RBI, 3 K
Wilkins DeLaRossa: 0 for 4, 4 K
Rolando Japa: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 2 HB
Jim Conroy: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

This is the last time I'm going to blab about the draft, I promise. Overall, I think Mangini did a good job with his first draft as a head coach, nabbing the best available players at 2 positions in D'Brickashaw (I had no idea he was a local kid, so I like the pick even more now) and Nick Mangold. I like the Kellen Clemens pick alot, but I'm pretty miffed about the Anthony Schlegel selection simply because I think he was drafted at least 1 round too soon. Mangini definitely went offense first in the this draft, taking only 2 defensive players at the time of this writing (the Jets still have 2 picks right now).
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Power Rankings
ESPN's latest Power Rankings have the Yanks at number 6 despite a less than stellar record:

Derek Jeter is batting a whopping .408, and has more three-hit games (four) than no-hit games (two).

The first player was suspended under MLB's new steroid policy, and he's a Met (ha!):

Mets minor-league pitcher Yusaku Iriki was suspended for 50 games Friday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, making him the first player to be penalized under Major League Baseball's toughened steroid rules.

The 33-year-old Iriki agreed to a one-year, $750,000 deal with the Mets in January after spending his entire career in Japan. He was playing at Triple-A Norfolk this season and was on the Mets' 40-man roster.

I gave myself a good 24+ hours to mull over this whole Delmon Young bat throwing incident, and I've got to say that not for nothing, Young had a reason to be angry cause Lester's pitch was about a foot off the plate. In the spirit of Chris Rock: I'm not saying he shoulda threw the bat at the umpire, but I understand.

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus (3-2 loss to Indianapolis)
Felix Escalona: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 1 for 4, 2 K - back at first
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Jeff Karstens: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 7 BB, 4 K, 1 WP - only 53 of 104 pitches were strikes (51%), has issued 17 BB in 24.2 IP this season

Double-A Trenton (6-0 win over New Britain)
Justin Christian: 0 for 4
Shelley Duncan: 3 for 4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 SB
Omir Santos: 1 for 3, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Vincent Faison: 1 for 3, 3 RBI, 1 K
Steven White: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K - pulled due to high pitch count
Charlie Manning: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
TJ Beam: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

High-A Tampa (3-1 loss to Dunedin)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB - extends hit streak to 13 games
Cody Ehlers: 0 for 3, 2 K
Marcos Vechionacci: 0 for 3, 2 K - it may be time to send him back to Charleston
Phil Hughes: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HB - went 20 IP between walks, at his current pace, if he tosses 150 innings this year (about right for a minor leaguers) he'll issue only 10 free passes

Low-A Charleston (8-0 win over Kannapolis)
Austin Jackson: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B
Reegie Corona: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 K
Jose Tabata: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K - I'm just going to start copy and pasting the whole 2 for 4 with a double thing, tied for league RBI lead
Kyle Larson: 1 for 5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB
Jon Poterson: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Abel Gomez: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP
Phil Coke: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K - geez Phil, only 2 perfect innings this time? (3-0 GB/FB ratio)
Erick Wordekemper: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K - 4-0 GB/FB ratio

Needless to say I'm pretty pleased with the D'Brickashaw pick, but I've got to say that Matt Leinart fell into a pretty sweet gig. He's got 2 very good young receivers to throw to, the Edge behind him and Kurt Warner mentoring him. If that's not enough, he's a 45 minute flight from home. Some guys just have all the luck...

I received my first degree at Penn State, so I'm glad to see fellow Nittany Lion Tamba Hali taken in the first round and join another great Penn State alum (Larry Johnson) in KC. We are...PENN STATE!!!

I'm signed on to AIM right now, so if anyone wants to talk draft or baseball or anything along those lines just send me an IM at IGWTMike. I'll be around for another 2 hours or so.
Friday, April 28, 2006
The Great Gardner
I've been giving Brett Gardner praise since the day this blog started, and it's certainly not going to stop now with the way he's playing. I had some time to kill so I decided to do some number crunching, calculating the BA-OBP-SLG-OPS since the start of 2004 through today for each outfielder drafted before Gardner in the 2005 draft:

Trevor Crowe1/14/CLE.334.413.533.946
John Mayberry1/19/TEX.288.376.507.884
Jacoby Ellsbury1/23/BOS.360.455.498.953
Travis Buck1/36/OAK.363.450.542.992
Eli Iorg1/38/HOU.334.382.540.922
Daniel Carte2/52/COL.301.378.516.896
Brad Corley2/59/PIT.316.371.509.880
Nolan Reimold2/61/BAL.338.446.6591.105
Kris Harvey2/64/FLA.322.359.559.916
Brian Pettway3/86/TOR.309.390.530.921
James Boone3/91/PIT.318.402.501.903
Sergio Pedroza3/106/LAD.306.411.573.983
Brett Gardner3/109/CLE.376.458.505.963

High schoolers Cameron Maybin (1/10/DET), Andrew McCutchen (1/11/PIT), Jay Bruce (1/12/CIN), Colby Rasmus (1/28/STL), John Drennen (1/33/CLE) and Jordan Schafer (1/107/ATL) were not included because high school stats are just too hard to find, plus they're skewed as each of this guys probably hit close to .700 with a 2.000 slugging percentage or something ridiculous like that.

So of all the guys drafted before him, none has had a higher BA or OBP since the start of 2004, and only 3 guys have a higher OPS over that span. Gardner's best tool is his speed - which we all know can't be taught and doesn't go into a slump - which ensures he'll at least have a shot each and every year of posting high BA's. He should be hitting the Bronx in about 14 months, and I for one can't wait to see him play in person.
Graphing Jeter
How good has Jeter's start to the season been? Just look at the graphs.

Don't miss No Maas's exclusive interview with Joe Torre.

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus (7-2 win over Louisville)
Melky Cabrera: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K
Carlos Pena: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI - Eric Duncan rode the pine again
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Andy Cannizaro: 2 for 3, 2 R, 2 2B
Danny Garcia: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 3B
Aaron Small: 7 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K - 63 of 88 pitches were strikes (71.6%)
Scott Erickson: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K - he must be slipping, he actually allowed a baserunner this game

Double-A Trenton scheduled off day

High-A Tampa (9-7 win over Dunedin)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 BB - pulled a Messier (11 straight games with a hit), .403 BA leads league by over 40 points, .545 OBP leads league by 88 points
Eduardo Nunez: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K - second in league in RBIs despite .200 BA
Cody Ehlers: 3 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 K - leads league in RBI, TB, SLG and OPS
Ben Himes: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 K, 1 CS
Tim Battle: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI - still hitting under .100
Brett Smith: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K - 5-10 GB/FB ratio
Josh Schmidt: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Low-A Charleston
(Game1: 3-1 win in 7 innings over Savannah)
Austin Jackson: 0 for 2, 1 BB
Reegie Corona: 2 for 3, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Jose Tabata: 2 for 3 - he's simply a hit machine
Edgar Soto: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
David Seccombe: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
(Game 2: 5-2 win in 7 innings over Savannah)
Austin Jackson: 0 for 4, 1 K - hard to believe for was 0 for Thursday
Reegie Corona: 3 for 3, 1 R, 1 E (throwing)
Jose Tabata: 0 for 2, 1 R, 1 HBP
Kyle Larson: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Estee Harris: 2 for 3, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 SB
Bryan Villalona: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

With the NFL draft tomorrow, I just wanna take a second to say that if the Jets don't take D'Brickashaw Ferguson, I might have to spend my last $300 to fly home and give Eric Mangini a nice little "Welcome to New York" smack upside the head. Not only would Ferguson fill the Jets biggest need - which happens to be at the most important position on the field - he's also the kind of dominant lineman that could go to a dozen Pro Bowls over his career. And besides, the last time an athlete out of Virginia went 4th overall it worked out pretty well (that would be Ryan Zimmerman).

As far as their second pick in the first round, Nick Mangold out of Ohio State seems like a good fit to play alongside Ferguson, but if Lendale White is still around, it would be hard to pass him up, questionable hamstring or not.

I'd wait for next year to take a QB, especially if Brady Quinn will be available. Unlike Leinart and Young, we know Quinn can play consistently well in cold weather.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Yanks vs Sawx
Hot Chick edition (I'll take the ugly one)

Hat tip to Scott from Rival Fish. Thanks for the email.
In need of mo' Mo
Why did Mo get knocked around last night? Joel Sherman thinks it's his light workload:

So far this season, Rivera has become the Maytag Repairman, such is his lack of work.

But, as Rivera explained, "Playing catch is good. But there is nothing like being in the game.''
Rivera had been mostly idle because, of the Yanks' 10 wins this season, eight have been by five or more runs. That the Yanks did not generate another blowout last night to make Rivera irrelevant once again will drive them bonkers.
This was just Rivera's sixth outing of 2006. However, for his few appearances, Rivera is now 0-2. Good thing he has a long memory for a short reliever. Last year, he blew his first two save chances, and he had just three saves and five tries through the Yanks' first 32 games. Yet he arguably went on to his best season, with 43 saves and a 1.38 ERA.

"There are five months and 140 games left," Rivera said. "I will pitch and pitch a lot.''

Starting next week, the Yanks begin to see the Red Sox and Mets a lot on their schedule. That foretells tightly contested, pressure games. Rivera is right, there will be plenty of opportunities. The Yankees need him to catch on to his usual excellence, and quickly.

I'm not worried about Mo. Never have been, never will be. I just think Torre needs to use him a little more aggressively, like when the Yanks are tied in the 9th or even trailing by run. With the offense this team has shown, it looks like Mo may only get 30 save chances or so this year.

Here's the highlights from Jim Callis' chat over at
bill (new york): phil hughes has pitched very good so far although its only been 4 starts, given his talent and with the age and question marks in the yankees rotation, would you be shocked if he was in the rotation nect year?
Jim Callis: Assuming you're talking Opening Day, I would be shocked from the standpoint that the Yankees just don't rush prospects. With a payroll pushing $200 million, they don't usually turn to young guys unless they have no other choice. On the other hand, Hughes is very talented, and there are a lot of question marks in the rotation, so he could surface by the end of 2007. I'm not sure that's much of an answer.

Mike A. (Chico, CA): If health was a non-issue: Pelfrey or Hughes? [I had a on-going debate to settle]
Jim Callis: Hughes, because he has a better breaking ball. But right now, factoring everything in, I'd give Pelfrey a slight edge.

Phil (Portland, ME): ok lets get it started..... A-rod at 25 or Wright at 25?
Jim Callis: OK, we'll go to either/or five minutes early today . . . A-Rod at 25. If he hadn't moved, we'd be talking about A-Rod as the best shortstop ever by the time he retired.

Kevin (CT): long term, Pedroia or Cano? [he's referring to Dustin Pedroia, a Red Sox middle infield prospect in case you don't know]
Jim Callis: At the risk of angering two huge fan bases, both of these guys are good players but not as good as most fans think. Cano can hit, but he's not a good second baseman and will have to move to the outfield. At that point, his bat doesn't stand out as much. Pedroia is solid, but he's not an elite prospect and he's not going to be a
superstar. He'll be a solid second baseman when all is said and done. I guess I still have to pick . . . I'll take Cano, who has more upside.

In case you missed it, Delmon Young turned into Elijah Dukes.

If you're looking for a good book to read, you should be able to find one here.

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus (3-0 win over Louisville)
Melky Cabrera: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB - batting leadoff instead of his usual 3rd
Kevin Reese: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
Russ Johnson: 3 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB
Carlos Pena: 1 for 3, 1 RBI - played 1B, Duncan had the day off
Andy Cannizaro: 2 for 4, 1 K, 1 CS, 1 E
Kris Wilson: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K - 61 of 99 pitches were strikes (61.6%)
Scott Erickson: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Jose Veras: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Double-A Trenton (9-2 win over New Britain)
Justin Christian: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 SB - 14 for 14 in SB chances
Bronson Sardinha: 1 for 4, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Randy Ruiz: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Kevin Howard: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Vincent Faison: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K - LFer threw a runner out at home
Tommy Rojas: 1 for 5, 2 RBI
Danny Borrell: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K - 7-3 GB/FB ratio
TJ Beam: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
JB Cox: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

High-A Tampa (10-4 loss to Dunedin)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K - just another day at the office
Eduardo Nunez: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Marcos Vechionacci: 0 for 4, 2 K - you know you're struggling when Battle is protecting you in the order
Tim Battle: 1 for 3, 1 K
Ben Himes: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Zach Kroenke: 1.2 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 1 K - knocked around, again
Jeff Kennard: 2.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Gerardo Casadiego: 1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Low-A Charleston postponed due to rain, doubleheader today
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
If things go well I'll be showin' her my "Oh" face
Oooooooooooh! Oooooooooooh!

(Hat tip to Luke Halpert)

Update: Here's another good laugh.
Boss: "Me, worry? Ha!"
King George isn't worried (who said he was?):

"I'm not worried about my team," Steinbrenner told a few reporters as he arrived at the Stadium hours before a 9-1 victory over the Devil Rays.

Just a few minutes after the demolition was complete, The Boss departed in a private car. But not before some more comments.

"It was a good win," he said. "Everybody's hitting, and they're doing well."

Asked about Mike Mussina, who allowed only one run on four hits over six-plus innings, Steinbrenner answered, "He was great. Moose carried us, and we did the rest. It was a good feeling."

Potential draft target Luke Hochevar finally caught on with an Indy team:

Hochevar has a deal to pitch for the Fort Worth Cats of the independent American Association, which would give him the opportunity to make six starts in front of scouts before this June's draft. Hochevar remains eligible to sign with the Dodgers until a week before this year's draft, but after negotiations took an ugly turn last fall that seems unlikely.

You know, of all 750 players on Major League 25-man rosters right now, I'd have though Moose was the most likely to not be affected by the whole "contract year" phenomenon, but he's proving me wrong. And I love it.

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus
(Game 1: 7-3 loss to Indianapolis, this was the completion of the Monday's game that was suspended due to a power outage)
Thompson/Pena/Cabrera: combined 0 for 9, 2 BB, 4 K - error for Thompson
Russ Johnson: 2 for 4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Eric Duncan: 1 for 2, 1 K
Koyie Hill: 1 for 3, 1 2B 1 PB
Felix Escalona: 1 for 3, 1 2B
Matt DeSalvo: 4 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 1 WP - only 50 of 101 pitches were strikes
(Game 2: rained out, no makeup date announced)

Double-A Trenton rained out, no makeup date announced

High-A Tampa (6-5 loss to Sarasota)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB - lowered his BA to .400
Eduardo Nunez: 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
Cody Ehlers: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
Tim Battle: 0 for 4, 3 K - just when you thought it couldn't get any uglier...
Ben Himes: 2 for 4, 1 K
Alan Horne: 3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K - 0-5 GB/FB ratio
Mike Martinez: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K - 4-1 GB/FB ratio, stranded both inhereted runners
Josh Schmidt: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Low-A Charleston (5-0 win over Savannah)
Austin Jackson: 0 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Jose Tabata: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K - what'd I say about him yesterday?
Chris Malec: 1 for 4, 1 K - batted cleanup for maybe the first time in his life
Joseph Muich: 2 for 4, 1 2B
Reegie Corona: 2 for 4, 1 R
Estee Harris: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB
Jason Stephens: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 WP - 8-3 GB/FB ratio
Wilkins Arias: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Sorry my posts have been lacking depth of late, the semester is winding down so that's consuming just about all of my time and attention.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Thank You!
IGWT eclipsed a milestone recently, receiving it's 10,000th hit (5,744 more than Pete Rose!). Thanks so much to everyone who's taken the time to read my rants and often pathetic analysis. I never imagined this blog would take off like it has; it's success has far surpassed any expectations I had.

I have to send a big thank you out to the crew at Yanksblog, Bronx Banter and Steve from Was Watching for linking to IGWT early on and helping it get off the ground.

Thank you again for the continued support,


Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus game suspended due to power outage (will be resumed today)

Double-A Trenton (6-1 loss to New Britain)
Justin Christian: 0 for 4
Randy Ruiz: 1 for 4, 3 K - 29 yr old DH that just caught on with the Yanks after being with the Royals, don't get excited
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 E (throwing)
Tyler Clippard: 3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 WP
Paul Thorp: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP

High-A Tampa (8-6 win over Sarasota)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 2, 1 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 2 SB - hitting .411 with a .554 OBP
Matt Carson: 4 for 4, 4 R, 1 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB - 15 total bases
Hector Made: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
Tim Battle: 0 for 4, 2 K - BA down to .074
Ben Himes: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
Jeff Marquez: 2.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 3 K - 2-3 GB/FB ratio for sinkerballer
Jason Jones: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
Michael Gardner: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K - save (1), took the closer's role from the struggling Josh Schmidt

Low-A Charleston (4-3 loss to Savannah)
Austin Jackson: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K, 1 SB - seems like he goes 2 for 4 with a SB everyday
Jose Tabata: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI - seems like he goes 2 for 4 with a 2B everyday
Joseph Muich: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B - threw out 2 potential basestealers
Jim Conroy: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Rolando Japa: 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K - 7-3 GB/FB ratio

Thanks to those who said a little Matt Cain prayer yesterday - he was perfect for the first 5 innings before Kaz Matsui squeaked a seeing-eye ground ball up he middle past Omar Vizquel of all people.

Update: BA's Hot Sheet for this week is out, and Phil Hughes shows up as the 7th hottest player (not just pitchers) in the minors:
Ridiculous secondary numbers . . . Hughes is off to his best start as a pro with the biggest number being his 24-1 strikeout-walk ratio. He's been uber-efficient with his pitches lately as well, working into the sixth and seventh innings over his last two outings.

Justin Christian gets honorable mention:
minors-best 13-for-13 steals on the season

Tim Battle makes an appearance on the Not-So-Hot Sheet:
Peaking at .094 . . . It doesn't get much worse than Battle so far this season, whose average has dipped to .080 with 22 whiffs in 50 at-bats.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Small step closer
Aaron Small is heading to Triple-A on a rehab assignment:

Small, who tossed four scoreless innings in his first start, on Monday, will pitch on Thursday for Triple-A Columbus, taking on Louisville.
Small, who has been on the disabled list since the start of the season with a strained right hamstring, will likely return to the Yankees during their next road trip. He will probably head to the bullpen as the long reliever and an emergency spot starter.

Weekly Poll: Exactly half of you think Phil Hughes has gotten off to the best start this year, followed by Melky Cabrera (30%) and Jose Tabata (20%). No love for Austin Jackson, who didn't receive a single vote. It's cool, maybe he'll use that as motivation. The new question is up, and as always thanks for voting (stats in the poll are as of this morning).

FYI: Blogger is a piece of crap. If it were a person, I'd punch it in the face.

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus (
4-3 loss at Toledo, 7th straight loss)
Kevin Reese: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B
Carlos Pena: 0 for 1, 1 RBI, 4 BB
Eric Duncan: 0 for 5, 1 K - just as he supplants Russ Johnson as the #5 hitter
Russ Johnson: 2 fir 5, 1 2B, 1 K
Jeff Karstens: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K

Double-A Trenton rained out (just as they were getting hot...)

High-A Tampa (7-5 win vs Sarasota)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Eduardo Nunez: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 5 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB
Marcos Vechionacci: 0 for 4, 1 K - dropped from 3rd to 6th in the order
Tim Battle: 1 for 4, 1 K, 1 SB - BA up to .080, he's too talented to suck this much
Ben Himes: 2 for 4, 2 R, 2 BB
Phil Hughes: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K - worst start of the year, but still damn good

Low-A Charleston (5-1 win over Kannapolis)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 1 K
Jose Tabata: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI - played in the field for the first time in over a week
Chris Malec: 2 for 4, 2 R
Joseph Muich: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB - quietly hitting .333
Eric Wordekemper: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Phil Coke: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K - dominant, again

Proof that the fantasy Gods hate me: The Reds decided to start Aaron Harang on 3 days rest yesterday unbeknownst to me. Without him in my lineup, he promptly dominates the Brewers and hurls a 5 hitter, his best game of the year. Errrrr......

Finally, if you frequent his blog on a regular basis you're well aware that my favorite prospect/pitcher in the game isn't even a Yankee. I'm asking you to say a little prayer to the baseball gods that Matt Cain absolutely dominates the Mets tonight at the Phone Booth, just so I can rub it in to every Mets-loving member of my family (which happens to be all but 1 of them). Thanks...
Sunday, April 23, 2006
From the Boss to King George
Good article on Steinbrenner by Bill Madden:

In a rare exclusive interview, the Yankee Boss told the Daily News he is both "gratified" and "humbled" at the Yankees becoming the first baseball team to be worth $1 billion according to the latest financial team evaluations by Forbes magazine. Not bad for an original investment of $8.7 million.

"This is all very gratifying," Steinbrenner said by phone from Tampa. "I'm truly humbled. I've been very lucky in life, and more than anything this is the product of surrounding yourself with good people. That's always been my philosophy. I've had a lot of good people with me the whole time."
"I re-member," said Steinbrenner, "when I told my father I had bought the Yankees, he said to me: 'You're better off sticking to shipbuilding.'"
"I could have never envisioned all this," Steinbrenner said. "All I knew when I went into [then-CBS chairman] Bill Paley's office was that I wanted a baseball team."

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus (3-2 loss to Toledo)
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 4, 1 R, 2 K
Melky Cabrera: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Eric Duncan: 1 for 1, 3 BB, 1 CS - BA up to .271, but still no HR in 16 games
Matt Childers: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K - lowered his ERA to 10.91

Double-A Trenton (10-3 win over Connecticut, holy crap - 2 wins in a row)
Justin Christian: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 SB
Bronson Sardinha: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 5, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K
JT Stotts: 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI
Steven White: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K - impressive yet again

High-A Tampa (6-5 loss to Clearwater)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 2, 1 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
Marcos Vechionacci: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 1 K - struggling badly, BA down to .193
Hector Made: 2 for 5, 1 RBI
Josh Schmidt: 2 IP, 2 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

Low-A Charleston (8-7 win over Kannapolis)
Austin Jackson: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 CS
Mario Holmann: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 K, 2 SB, 1 CS
Jose Tabata: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 HBP
Reegie Corona: 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Bryan Villalona: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K - 8-3 GB/FB raito
Saturday, April 22, 2006
The quest for Christian Garcia
In keeping up with the goings-on of the farm system day-in day-out it's pretty easy to let someone get lost in the shuffle and not notice they're MIA. A comment from loyal reader Marcus yesterday said the following:

Where has Christian Garcia been this year so far? I haven't noticed any of his stats on your wrap ups, and wondered if he hasn't been pitching for some reason.

To which I replied:

Garcia hasn't thrown a pitch this year and I have no idea why. I did a quick google search but it came up empty - maybe it says something in the Prospect Handbook, but I don't have it with me. I'll look more into it later today, but I've got a test to study for.

So, where the heck has Garcia been? Plugging his name into shows him listed at High-A Tampa with a whole lotta zeros for stats (and not in a good way). A Pinstripes Plus search is essentially useless, as is one at the Yanks site and a swarm of google searches.

After spending way too much time surfing the infernet trying to find out what's up with Garcia, I stumbled across this post (dated April 5th) at, which yielded this info:

P Christian Garcia - Nursing strained oblique. Will be on mound in 2 weeks, and in Tampa's rotation in about 4-6 weeks
Strained obliques are a moderately serious injury for pitchers, so hopefully he'll take the proper amount of time to let it heal and get back on the mound sometime in the next 2-4 weeks for Tampa. That's all I've been able to come up with regarding Garcia, but if you have any more info I'd appreciate you sharing it with me via the comments section.

In other news, Octavio Dotel's rehab hit a snag:

Dotel felt soreness in his surgically repaired elbow after throwing an inning in an extended spring training game, Cashman said yesterday.

"It's nothing to get alarmed about," Cashman said. "His body is telling him let's back
off a little bit."

The Yankees have always hoped to have Dotel back in June, though the pitcher has been more optimistic. "We've said the summer," Cashman said. "He's got a lot to do before he can come to us."

Super, we get to enjoy Tanyon Sturtze that much longer.

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus (4-3 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K
Carlos Pena: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B - DH'ed
Melky Cabrera: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
Eric Duncan: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Kris Wilson: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K - called up from Trenton on Thursday
Colter Bean: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K - not always pretty, but still effective
Scott Erickson: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K - continues to dominate

Double-A Trenton (7-1 win over Connecticut, break up the Thunder, that's their second win of the year)
Justin Christian: 1 for 5, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 SB - tied for league lead in steals
Ramiro Pena: 0 for 4, 2 R, 2 K
Rudy Guillen: 2 for 4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Tommy Rojas: 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB
JT Stotts: 1 for 2, 2 RBI, 1 BB
TJ Beam: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K - .084 ERA
JB Cox: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP - 1-3 GB/FB ratio for groundball guy

High-A Tampa (6-4 loss to Clearwater)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 2, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS, 1 HBP - .388 BA, why isn't he in Trenton yet?
Marcos Vechionacci: 0 for 2, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 E - .208 BA
Cody Ehlers: 0 for 2, 2 BB, 1 K - starting to get the Barry Bonds treatment? Nah...
Hector Made: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
Zach Kroenke: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
Jeff Marquez: 1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

Low-A Charleston (6-3 win over Kannapolis)
Austin Jackson: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Jose Tabata: 0 for 4, 2 K - so, is it bad that he's spent a week straight at DH?
Chris Malec: 2 for 4, 2 R - 16th round pick is looking like a steal
Jason Stephens: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

In case you were wondering, Short Season Staten Island kicks off their season on June 20th, as does the Rookie level GCL Yanks.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Return of the Rocket?
The Yankees don't just want the Rocket, they need the Rocket. Buster Olney thinks so:

What is becoming increasingly apparent is that the Yankees almost certainly don't have the kind of starting rotation needed to win the World Series. They might be good enough to make the playoffs, but here's the problem with the Yankees' staff: There is not a single member who is going to get better through development this summer.

The group is so old or and bears so much injury risk (Carl Pavano, Chien-Ming Wang, Jaret Wright) that what the Yankees are really hoping for is diminished regression.
Going after Clemens makes more sense in that the Yankees wouldn't have to part with any prospects to get him. They have shifted their philosophy in the last year and hung onto youngsters like Philip Hughes and Eric Duncan, and if they were to make a bid on the best pitchers available for a trade in midseason, they would have to part with someone like Hughes. But all they need to land Clemens is cash, and the Yankees have plenty of that.

With most other acquisitions, the Yankees would have to weigh their concerns about how the player would adjust to New York -- and just about every major star, including Clemens, has initially struggled in adapting. With Clemens, the New York factor would not be a problem; he had a good relationship with the fans by the end of
his tenure with the Yankees, and has maintained a strong relationship with the organization.

The Yankees are going to throw out a big number in the bidding, and if money is a major factor how Clemens makes his choice, they are going to win.

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus (5-4 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, walk-off style)
Carlos Pena: 2 for 4, 1 E - played 1B, glad to see he's taking precious development time away from Duncan
Melky Cabrera: 2 for 4, 1 R
Eric Duncan: 1 for 4, 1 K - DH'ed
Darrell Rasner: 4 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K - 65 of 94 pitches were strikes (69.1%)

Double-A Trenton (2-1 loss to Connecticut, a 1-13 record only a mother could love)
Justin Christian: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 SB
Kevin Howard: 0 for 4, 2 K
Jorge DePaula: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K - 3-10 GB/FB ratio
Francisco Butto: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K - 5-1 GB/FB ratio

High-A Tampa (3-2 win over Clearwater, walk-off style)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 2 K
Eduardo Nunez: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K - commited 9th error of the year
Cody Ehlers: 3 for 4, 1 2B - .380 BA, continues to do nothing but rake
Tim Battle: 0 for 3, 2 K - .065 BA
Alan Horne: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

Low-A Charleston (9-3 loss to Kannapolis)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 1 R, 2 K
Jose Tabata: 1 for 4, 1 R, 2 K
Chris Malec: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
Jon Poterson: 0 for 4, 4 K
Rolando Japa: 4 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Jim Conroy: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Thursday, April 20, 2006
You're welcome....bitches
Baseball's economy is booming, and guess which franchise you can thank:

Baseball owners continue to slam the ball out of the park. Team values increased an average of 15 percent for the second consecutive year, to $376 million, in our 2006 survey of Major League Baseball's 30 franchises. Overall operating income increased to $360 million ($12.1 million per team) from $132 million ($4.4 million per team) the previous year, as revenue increased faster than player salaries.
But the biggest story is the effect revenue sharing is having on the league's economic landscape. Most of the money comes courtesy of the New York Yankees, which paid a record $77 million toward baseball's revenue sharing system.
But the league's reliance on Steinbrenner's Yankees goes far beyond revenue sharing. For example, a visit by the Yankees can increase a home team's ticket sales by as much as 25 percent. And the Yankees account for 27 percent of all league merchandise sales, the profits of which get shared equally throughout the league to the tune of more than $3 million per franchise. In effect, much of the league operates as subsidiaries of the Bronx Bombers.

But don't feel bad for the Yankees or the Red Sox. They sit atop our [Forbes'] rankings, worth $1 billion and $671 million, respectively, thanks to the revenue generated by their ownership stakes in regional sports networks. Steinbrenner's $62 million in cable money from the YES channel was by far the most in the league. Moreover, the Yankees will have a new cash-rich ballpark by 2009 -- perhaps adding another 20 percent to the team's valuation.
Prospect Retrospect: Jackson Melian
Name: Jackson Melian
Position: OF
Vitals: 6'2", 200 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Born: January 7th, 1980
Hometown: Barcelona, Venezuela
Signed: As an undrafted free agent (1996). Received a $1,600,000 bonus.

Background: Even though his father Vincent named him after some dude named Reggie, baseball was not always Melian's calling in life. Melian was a supremely skilled swimmer - at age 12 he set the Central American record in the 50-meter freestyle - with Olympic success in his not-to-distant future. However, he quit swimming after the Venezuelan national team asked him to move to it's new training facility, at which point he went from speedos to spikes. Barely a year later Melian had transformed himself into a 7-figure bonus baby and the best outfield prospect in the system of his father's beloved Yankees. Melian's family followed him throughout his career, traveling ahead of the team bus to be at each of his games. However, both Melian's parents were tragically killed in a car accident in just his second pro season, an accident that occurred directly in front of the bus carrying Jackson. Melian handled the adversity tremendously, never allowing the tragedy to affect his on-the-field performance.

Strengths: Just about everything. Melian was fast, powerful and graceful all at the same time. At the plate he made hard contact thanks to excellent bat speed, sending balls into the gaps with regularity. He was outstanding in the field, using his speed to cover plenty of ground in the outfield and firing balls back to the infield with a cannon that he kept attached to his right shoulder. He utilized his speed to terrorize pitchers as well, teasing them with big leads before stealing bases almost at will.

Weaknesses: Melian's biggest deficiency was his inability to control the strike zone. Although he drew a respectable amount of walks, his walk totals paled in comparison to his strike out numbers. Melian was always young for his league, which in turn hindered the development of his ability to make consistent contact.

Stats: Immediately after signing, Melian became a regular on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects lists, placing 40th in 1997, 98th in 1998, and 72nd in 1999. Jackson's talents were well-sought after as he was routinely asked for in trade talks - including a 2000 rumor that had him headed to the Cubs as part of a package for Sammy Sosa.

1997GCL Yankees2135611233652-20.263.707
1999Tampa 467132171366198-49.283.768
Chattanooga (CIN)6100000-0.167.334
2001Chattanooga (CIN)426101220165295-36.237.703
2002Huntsville (MIL)184416162463-35.223.726
West Tennessee (CHN)2347217042662-17.308.807
2003West Tennessee (CHN)252658372847-20.258.715
Iowa (CHN)12923403927-8.178.505
2004Greenville (ATL)161318331338-14.193.602
2005Erie (DET)23620015-1.261.628
2006Lakeland (DET)31701036-0.226.532
Toledo (DET)8110004-1.125.472

What Happened? In the midst of a run to their third straight World Series title and fourth in 5 years, the Yankees packaged Melian along with Drew Henson, Ed Yarnall and Brian Reith in a mid-season trade with the Reds for Denny Neagle and Mike Frank. After the trade, Melian joined then prospects Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns to form the "Gen-X" outfield, however Melian's bat never came around and he has not come close to reaching his enormous ceiling.

Melian was placed on waivers by the Reds to make room for Joey Hamilton after the 2001 season, at which point he was claimed by the Brewers, who soon after traded him to the Cubs for Robert Machado. Melian has bounced around from organization to organization since 2000, playing for a total of 6 different organizations and 11 different teams, including a second stint with the Bombers.

Melian is currently playing the Detroit Tigers system, where he began the year playing for High-A Lakeland before being promoted to Triple-A Toledo on April 16th. Melian is fulfilling DH duties, and as of April 19th he has a .205-.225-.282-.507 combined line to go along with zero SBs and a 10-1 K/BB ratio. Still only 26 years old, Melian will likely never reach the majors with any staying power.
Matt DeSalvo, groundball machine
From today's Daily Dish at

It's not often you'll see a pitcher record 15 of 16 outs on the ground, but that's exactly what Yankees righthander Matt DeSalvo did last night. He also whiffed four Red Barons.

DeSalvo took the loss against Scranton, but for his part he went seven innings, gave up six hits and allowed just two runs, one earned.

When he's on, DeSalvo relies on a power two-seam fastball, but his changeup might have been even better last night. He was able to command the pitch even when behind, which enabled him to induce lots of soft contact.

DeSalvo consistently threw first-pitch strikes, and even neutralized lefthanded batters, who had hit DeSalvo hard early on."The key is for him to get ahead of lefthanders," Columbus pitching coach Neil Allen said. "Because when he does, he'll throw all manner of changeups and balls with wrinkles at them."

Hughes traded!!!
Ok, not really. But a new site out there - First Inning - focuses on the difficult task of projecting prospects and minor leaguers. The site is still in it's infancy stages and there's errors abound, which is why Hughes is listed as a member of the LA Angels organization (as if they need another elite prospect). I already reported the error, so don't waste your time.

Regardless, the site appears to be very intriguing, as evidenced by it's BsRA9 Primer, as well as it's positional rankings (here's the outfielders), organization reports (here's the Mets, the Yanks aren't yet available) and minor league player projections, like this one for Eric Duncan.

Stop by and check it out, it's frickin sweet. (Hat tip to Dave Studeman of Hardball Times)
Looking Ahead

Baseball Think Factory's "Looking Ahead to..." series rolled the Yankees way. I partook in the survey, so feel free to point and laugh at my answers.



XBH allowed
Pitcher A5.
Pitcher B7.993.50.225.5601.012
Pitcher C4.804.00.236.7031.005

So, who do you want leading your staff? Identities are revealed at the end of this post, although I doubt they're much of a secret...

Just like every Thursday, here's the highlights from yesterday's ESPN chat with BA's Jim Callis:

Bob (North Hampton, NH): How's this years crop of draft eligible catching prospects looking?
Jim Callis: Not very good. The top catcher taken will be either Pepperdine's Chad Tracy (son of Pirates manager Jim) or California high schooler Hank Conger. Conger is a switch-hitter with power, but not a lock to stay behind the plate. Florida's Brian Jeroloman is a defensive specialist, while another Florida high schooler, Max Sapp, is more of an offensive player.

Mike A. (Chico, CA): Hey Jim, thanks for taking our questions. Where do you see Hochevar going in this year's draft? Would it be wise for a team that lacks upper-level talent (i.e. the Yanks) to take him in the 2nd or 3rd round considering the merely average draft class this year? Thanks again
Jim Callis: A lot is going to depend on how good he looks when he gets back on the mound in indy ball this spring. That may be a tall order, because he's coming off a long layoff and will face a lot of older hitters, many with Double-A and Triple-A experience. Hochevar, based on his 2005 form, would go in the upper half of the first round. But he probably won't be in that form, there still will be signability questions and you have to question his makeup after the Dodgers fiasco last year. So it's too early to tell where he goes. He might get to the Yankees at No. 41 after going No. 40 a year ago.

Paul (San Francisco): How predictive is a good farm system of a club's future big league success? For instance, do the clubs whos farm systems you rate in the top 5 in a given year generally do well 2-3 years in the future? I guess the real question is, how fired up can we be if our teams rate as having good farm systems?
Jim Callis: I recently looked at the teams we had ranked No. 1 over the last decade, and the last club to get that ranking and fizzle was the 1997 Pirates. All of the other clubs had a great deal of success (though some, like the Braves and Yankees were already successful when ranked No. 1). Unless the club's talent is being overestimated (in retrospect, that's what happened with the 1997 Pirates), an elite system should lead to big league success.

Down on the Farm (yesterday was an ugly day for the system):

Triple-A Columbus (2-1 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 4, 1 K
Melky Cabrera: 0 for 4
Eric Duncan: 1 for 3
Matt DeSalvo: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K - 15-1 GB/FB ratio

Double-A Trenton (9-3 loss to Altoona)
Justin Christian: 2 for 5, 1 SB - moved to leadoff spot a few games ago and took off
Rudy Guillen: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K - .086 BA, you can stick a fork in him, he's no longer a prospect
Danny Borrell: 4 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

High-A Tampa (4-3 loss to Fort Myers)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Hector Made: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 K
Jason Jones: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Low-A Charleston scheduled off day

Pitcher A: Josh Beckett
Pitcher B: Moose, but I’m sure you knew that already
Pitcher C: Roy Halladay

Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Prospect Retrospect: Drew Henson
Name: Drew Daniel Henson
Position: 3B
Vitals: 6'5", 222 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Born: February 13, 1980
Hometown: San Diego, California
Drafted: 3rd round (97th overall) in 1998 (Yankees 4th selection)

Background: A member of the 1998 All-USA baseball team in high school, Henson held national career records in RBIs (290), runs (250), grand slams (10), and homeruns (70 - since broken by current Mariners farmhand Jeff Clement). One of the most physically talented people on the planet, Henson spent his time after being drafted playing pro ball while attending the University of Michigan, where he quarterbacked the Wolverines to a share of the Big-10 title in 2000. A legitimate NFL prospect with Heisman trophy aspirations and first overall pick potential, Henson agreed to a $17M offer to play for the Yankees full-time in March of 2001 after initially declaring he'd return to Michigan for his senior season. Despite the contract, Henson was taken in the 6th round (192nd overall) in the 2003 NFL draft by the Houston Texans, yet he persisted that he was committed to baseball.

Strengths: Power, power, and more power. Henson's raw power was measured on the Ruthian scale, and not until Brandon Wood circa 2005 did a prospect flash as much slugging potential. Henson was a supreme athlete who had the work ethic, leadership abilities and off-the-field attitude that every club dreams of having in it's star player. Henson was a complete package, the definition of a franchise player.

Weaknesses: A less than stellar defender, to say Henson was decent at the hot corner would be a compliment. He made inconsistent contact as his .252 career minor league batting average would suggest. Henson's biggest problem was that he was too talented. The prospect of playing professional football always surrounded him, and the expectations that accompanied the $17M deal were extremely high and (unfairly) exaggerated by the media.

Stats: Henson's raw ability surely did not go unnoticed, as he was deemed the 9th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2002 season, ahead of notable big leaguers Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, Carl Crawford, Carlos Zambrano and Victor Martinez. However, Henson's abilities were far superior to his actual performance, as fans and experts routinely cited that 169 of Henson's 400 career minor league hits went for extra bases (42.3%), failing to acknowledge that 499 of his 1587 minor league ABs ended with either strike three or a double play (31.4%).

1998GCL Yankees381230129-3.316.844
2000Tampa 21720117-1.333.935
Chattanooga (CIN)6411801925-4.172.565

What Happened? Aaron f'in Boone happened. With their patience wearing thin, the Yankees unofficially pulled the plug on Henson's Yankee career by trading for the former Red and future one-time great Yankee (emphasis on one-time) third basemen in July 2003. The following winter Boone suffered a severe knee injury playing basketball that ending his 2004 season before it even started, creating a vacancy at third base. Despite the opening, Henson never received serious consideration for the job as the Yankees acquired Mike Lamb to plug the hole less than a week later. Henson all but saw his Yankee career come to end on February 16, 2004 when the Yankees acquired perennial All-Star shortstop Alex Rodriguez, who had agreed to shift to the hot corner.

Less than a month later, Henson's rights were traded by the Texans to the Cowboys, at which point Henson ended his baseball career by signing an 8-year contract with the Cowboys. After the deal was signed, Yankees GM Brian Cashman had this to say: "Michigan, the Yankees and the Cowboys. That's a pretty talented athlete to be with those teams...I'm happy for him. He was in a position where he had some control of his situation. He's with a good organization and good coach (Bill Parcells)."
Gimme the heat kid
It's been a long time since the Yanks had a young pitching stud come up to the majors and start blowing people away. Chien-Ming Wang was very good last year, but he didn't overpower people. Neither did Andy Pettitte. I'd love to see the Yanks trot out a young - as in closer to 20 than 25 - fireballer every 5 days that doesn't know he's not supposed to dominate major league hitters yet.

There's nothing more exciting in baseball to watch than a young pitcher who turns each start into an event just with his sheer ability. I want a Felix Hernandez or an Ervin Santana or a Joel Zumaya of my own to root for. Heck, I'd settle for a Zach Duke. Living where I have for the past 2+ years, I've been fortunate enough to witness the rise of Rich Harden, Joe Blanton, Danny Haren and Matt Cain, and there's always the occasional glimpse of someone like Justin Verlander rolling through the Bay Area (against the A's last night he was consistently hitting 98 on the gun in the 7th inning with his pitch count in the 120's), and it's spoiled me.

I know with the Yankees it's all about October, and the thinking seems to be that you need veterans who aren't scared of a little pressure (okay, alot of pressure) to thrive. The problem with that is young guys like me aren't really able to relate to the wiley old veterans going out to the mound, but seeing a young kid that's at the same point in life as me jog out there brings me that much closer to the game and the team.

Hopefully Phil Hughes could be that guy.

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus (9-8 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB - picked off first
Melky Cabrera: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 BB
Eric Duncan: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI - rebounding quite nicely
Jeff Karstens: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K
Scott Erickson: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K - pitching well enough for me think he's a better option than Jaret Wright

Double-A Trenton (3-1 loss to Altoona)
Bronson Sardinha: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Ramiro Pena: 2 for 4
Tyler Clippard: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 K - ERA still hovering above 5.00
JB Cox: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K - 5-0 GB/FB ratio, first lights-out outing of the year

High-A Tampa (1-0 loss to Fort Myers)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS - picked off first
Edwar Gonzalez: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 2 K
Phil Hughes: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K - talk about a tough luck loss

Low-A Charleston (1-0 loss to Augusta)
Jose Tabata: 0 for 4, 1 K - 4th straight day at DH, he must be nursing something
Chris Malec: 1 for 3, 1 BB
Phil Coke: 4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K - rock solid yet again, where'd he come from?

Nothing to do with the Yankees, but I have a good friend - that happens to be a die hard Mets fan - that's been giving me a hard time day after day after day about Xavier Nady "finally turning the corner" and "living up to his potential now that he's been given a shot." Well, I took the liberty of crunching Nady's career numbers using Dave Pinto's Day-by-Day database:

March thru May: .298-.353-.494-.847
June thru October: .243-.297-.380-.678

Come August, Mets fans will be begging for Mike Cameron.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Don't call it a comeback...
...he's been here for years:

Twelve games into the season, Jason Giambi is showing last year's sensational second half wasn't a fluke.

Noting his body hasn't felt this good in two years, the Yankees' first baseman was named AL Player of the Week yesterday.

"This is the best I have felt in the last couple of years," said Giambi, who was the 2005 Comeback Player of the Year. "From being sick [2004] and blowing out my knee [2003]. All the work I did rehabbing my knee was lost when I got sick [pituitary tumor]. It was nice to finish with a positive last year and the way I came in this year."

Giambi was 8-for-14 (.571) with four homers, 10 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .700 last week. It was the third time he has been named AL Player of the Week but the first time as a Yankee.

Later on the same articles gives an update on Aaron Small and that literal pain in the ass Carl Pavano:

Yesterday in Tampa, Carl Pavano (bruised butt) threw off a bullpen mound for the first time since the final week of spring training. He threw 48 pitches and is expected to repeat the process tomorrow.

Aaron Small (hamstring) took another step toward coming off the DL by throwing four shutout innings of an extended spring training game against the Phillies. He allowed one hit, didn't issue a walk and fanned four.

The Yankees show up at number 12 (up 3 spots from last week) on SI's power rankings:

By all rights, the Yankees probably should have won two out of three against the Twins. But Mariano Rivera blew a game on Saturday night in typical Rivera style -- sawing off a batter (Justin Morneau), breaking his bat and getting burned on a seeing-eye bloop single. "Maybe sometimes you want them to hit the ball harder so the outfielder can catch it," he said. "What can you do?"

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus (10-1 loss to elite pitching prospect Jeremy Sowers and Buffalo)
Kevin Thompson: 2 for 4, 1 SB
Melky Cabrera: 0 for 4
Eric Duncan: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 GIDP
Matt Childers: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

Double-A Trenton (9-0 win over Altoona - first win of the year, still 7.5 GB in the division after only a week and a half)
Justin Christian: 2 for 4, 3 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB
Kevin Howard: 2 for 5, 1 R, 2 RBI
Vince Faison: 2 for 3, 2 R, 2 RBI
Steven White: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K - 2 of 3 starts have been outstanding
TJ Beam: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

High-A Tampa (15-10 win over Fort Myers)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 SB - future CFer is hitting .400
Eduardo Nunez: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 4 RBI
Cody Ehlers: 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI
PJ Pilittere: 2 for 3, 3 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Brett Smith: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K - 8-2 GB/FB ratio
Josh Schmidt: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Low-A Charleston (2-1 loss in 10 innings to Augusta)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 2 K
Jose Tabata: 0 for 4, 2 K - third straight game at DH, I wonder if he's hurt
Chris Malec: 0 for 4
Reegie Corona: 1 for 4 - replacement for CJ Henry, who went on the DL with an undisclosed injury
Eric Wordekemper: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Bryan Villalona: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

A commenter asked me about Tabata's defense: I can't find any fielding stats on either or, but when I'm looking through the box scores I check to see if there's been any errors or OF assists or anything like that, and to my knowledge Tabata hasn't done anything too exciting in the OF. He's DH'ed for 3 straight games, so I guess it's possible his defense has been so bad they had to take him out of the field, although I highly doubt it. I'll be sure to let you know if I find anything.

Update: Minor league players of the week were announced, 2 Yankee hitters were honored (no pitchers made the cut):

International League
Russ Johnson, Columbus

.436 (17-39), 9 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 6 BB, 3 SO, 0 SB, .795 SLG
Columbus third baseman Russ Johnson had seven extra-base hits and hit safely in nine of 11 games. The 33-year-old Louisiana native went 4-for-5 with a homer and a triple while scoring twice to help the Clippers run away from Charlotte, 12-6, on April 12.

Florida State League
Cody Ehlers, Tampa

.343 (12-35), 8 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 3 BB, 7 SO, 0 SB, .829 SLG
Tampa first baseman Cody Ehlers smacked four homers, three doubles and a triple to drive in 14 runs and raise his slugging percentage to .829. The 24-year-old first baseman went 4-for-4 with four RBIs to lead the Yankees over Lakeland, 5-4, on April 8.
Monday, April 17, 2006
What are you doing Joe?
Back to the good old Sesame Street days: which one of these things doesn't belong?

Kyle Farnsworth: 4.1 IP
Tanyon Sturtze: 3.2 IP
Scott Proctor: 7.0 IP
Mariano Rivera: 3.1 IP

From John Donovan's Mailbag over at

Are there any indications -- with Brian Cashman more in control -- that the Yankees are going to try to develop some of their own stars? Do they have any projected stars in the making in their system at present?-- Jack Gibson, Neepawa, Manitoba
Jack, Baseball America has the Yankees ranked 17th in their organizational talent rankings. Last year, two homegrown prospects, Chien-Ming Wang and Robinson Cano, both paid off. But it looks pretty dry from there, at least in the high majors.

The Yanks' most talked-about prospects right now are outfielder Melky Cabrera and right-hander Philip Hughes. Cabrera had a cup last season, and he's on the 40-man roster now, but the 19-year-old Hughes still is way down in the minors. Not much chance you'll see him at all this year.

Since Donovan doesn't necessarily appear to be up-to-date on the Yanks system, I'll answer the question for him: Cashman has said that he's committed to rebuilding the team from within, and he appears to be sticking to his guns. He could have easily dealt away Phil Hughes and Eric Duncan at last year's deadline for Mark Kotsay, but he didn't, and he wasn't even sure if he'd be with the team in 2006. That tells you all you need to know about that. As far as prospects, the Yankees have a cache of young talent, but the problem is that they're way down in the A-ball ranks. Melky Cabrera has been HUGE in Triple-A (I said it once and I'll say it again - I couldn't have been more wrong about him in my Top 20 Prospects), but the organization's best hope for future stars lies in Hughes, Austin Jackson, Jose Tabata (more on him below) and CJ Henry, with special mention for Marco Vechionacci. As far as guys that are close to majors, JB Cox could make a cameo in September, Brent Gardner could hit in Bronx next year, and that's really it.

Be sure to take the "You are the GM" challenge over at Hardball Times!

Weekly Poll: Not a good sign for Joe Torre, as more than half of you would like to see someone new at the Yanks helm. On the bright side, more than 30% of you said you love the guy and want to see him around for as long as he wants to be here. The new question is up, thanks for voting as always.

Down on the Farm (2 days worth of stats):

Triple-A Columbus
(Saturday: 7-6 loss in 11 innings to Buffalo)
Kevin Thompson: 0 for 6, 3 K
Mitch Jones: 4 for 6, 3 R, 2 2B, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 E
Darrell Rasner: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER 1 BB, 5 K - back to reality after 11 K game last week
(Sunday: 8-3 win over Buffalo)
Melky Cabrera: 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Eric Duncan: 3 for 5, 1 RBI, 1 K - starting to rebound from the poor start, played DH
Sean Henn: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K - left with an injury, no idea what happened
Colter Bean: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

Double-A Trenton
(Saturday: 7-5 loss to Connecticut, now 0-10 on the year)
Kevin Howard: 3 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Justin Christian: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Kris Wilson: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 3 HR
(Sunday: scheduled off day, mercifully)

High-A Tampa
(Saturday: 6-3 loss to Dunedin)
Eduardo Nunez: 1 for 5, 1 RBI - .196 BA
PJ Pilittere: 1 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K - catcher recorded an unassisted double play, how's that happen?
Zach Kroenke: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
(Sunday: scheduled off day)

Low-A Charleston
(Saturday: 10-4 win over Augusta)
Austin Jackson: 2 for 5, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 K
Mario Holmann: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 K
Jose Tabata: 3 for 5, 1 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K, 1 CS
Chris Malec: 4 for 5, 1 R, 2 RBI
Jim Conroy: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
Rolando Japa: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
(Sunday: 9-2 win over Augusta)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 SB
Jose Tabata: 3 for 5, 2 R, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 1 K - 2nd in league in RBI, tied for lead in 2B, only 17 yrs old
CJ Henry: 1 for 2, 1 RBI - .172 BA
Jason Stephens: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Saturday, April 15, 2006
A new 12th man
Matt Smith (3.2 IP, 0 H, 2 K at Triple-A) got the call:

"That dress code isn't going to work," [Triple-A manager Dave Miley] told a confused Smith.

"I thought maybe he was a stickler about the dress code being on the road," Smith said. "I said, 'What do you mean?' and he said, 'The dress code is a little different in the big leagues.' I thought he was joking, but I know a manager wouldn't do that to a guy in my situation, who had never been there."

Miley wasn't joking. Smith was recalled by the Yankees before Friday's game in Minnesota, giving New York a 12th arm on the pitching staff. To make room for Smith on the roster, the Yanks designated catcher Koyie Hill for assignment.
"First and foremost, I have to get lefties out; being a lefty, that's pretty much what you have to do. I really won't know how they're going to use me until I get out there. Right now, I could care less what they do."

Congrats to Matt for getting the call, nothing like watching a guy finally reach his lifelong dream.

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus (9-1 loss to Buffalo)
Kevin Thompson: 3 for 4, 2 SB, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 0 for 4, 2 K, 1 E - .097 BA, dropped from 5th to 7th in the order
Matt DeSalvo: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, 1 WP
Justin Pope: 1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Double-A Trenton (4-0 loss to Connecticut, now 0-9 on the year)
Ramiro Pena: 0 for 4, 3 K
Gabe Lopez: 2 for 4, 1 K
Jorge DePaula: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

High-A Tampa (9-5 win over Dunedin)
Brett Gardner: 3 for 5, 2 R, 1 K, 1 CS
Eduardo Nunez: 2 for 5, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 K
Marcos Vechionacci: 2 for 4, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HBP
Alan Horne: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 7 K

Low-A Charleston (2-1 loss to Columbus)
Austin Jackson: 0 for 2, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K
Jose Tabata: 2 for 4, 1 RBI
CJ Henry: 0 for 4

Happy Easter everyone, I'll be back Monday.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Prospect Retrospect: Brien Taylor
Name: Brien Taylor
Positions: LHP
Vitals: 6'3", 220 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L
Born: December 26, 1971
Hometown: Beaufort, North Carolina
Drafted: 1st round (1st overall) in 1991 (Yankees 1st selection). Received a $1,550,000 bonus.

Background: The child of a mason and crab processor, Taylor was the consensus top pitcher heading into the 1991 draft after a stellar high school career that was highlighted by a mind blowing 476 K's in 239 IP (that's 17.92 Kper9). Taken by the rebuilding Yankees first overall, Taylor was offered a $350,000 minor league deal (the going rate at the time), however he held out for more money thanks to advice from Scott Boras. Although his high school grades were poor and he didn't receive any college scholarship offers, Taylor threatened to attend junior college in lieu of signing if he didn't receive a bonus along the lines of that offered to top pick Todd VanPoppel the previous year (VanPoppel eventually headed off to Stanford after turning down a reported $1.5M bonus from the A's). Taylor signed for a then record $1,550,000 bonus hours before he was to attend his first day of class. The record bonus later became the subject of an entire segment of 60 Minutes.

Strengths: Taylor featured a very live arm and attacked hitters with the hard-harder-hardest mindset. He possessed an above average fastball that sat in the mid-90s and occasionally threatened triple digits. His secondary pitches were also very good, and he was a strikeout pitcher than missed plenty of bats. A prototypical flamethrower, Taylor was even more attractive because he was a southpaw.

Weaknesses: The biggest knock on Taylor was his makeup, evidenced by the signing bonus fiasco. He needed to improve his control and harness his emotions on the mound, as he would occasionally let jams snowball out of control, to which he quipped "In high school nobody ever got on base so I've got some adjusting to do."

Stats: Taylor ranked as the top prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America prior to the 1992 season, before he ever threw a professional pitch. Taylor's first few years in pro ball were very good as he was named the second best prospect in the Florida State League in 1992 (behind Carlos Delgado) and fourth best in the Eastern League in 1993 (behind Cliff Floyd, Manny Ramirez and Rondell White).

'88-'91East Carteret High29-61.25--239.0---476-?
1992Ft. Lauderdale6-82.57--161.0121--187-?
1993Albany-Colonie 13-73.48--163.0127--150-102
2000Columbus (CLE)0-027.005.255-02.2511-812-9

What Happened? After the 1993 season, Taylor tore the labrum in his left shoulder defending his brother Brenden in a bar fight that also included close friend (and parolee) Ron Wilson. Taylor faced some misdemeanor charges, but they were eventually dropped. On the mound, Taylor's velocity, control and stuff all but disappeared, leaving the talented pitcher a shell of his former self.

After a failed comeback attempt that included an unsuccessful transition to the bullpen, the Yankees cut ties with Taylor after the 1998 season. He caught on with the Mariners (although he was released before spring training) and the Indians before finally calling it a career. Taylor holds the distinction of being 1 of only 3 first overall selections to never reach the majors, joining Steve Chilcott and Josh Hamilton (although there may still be hope for Hamilton).

So what did we learn from this kids? Always fight dirty in bar fights - hit with objects (not your hand) and avoid using your pitching arm. Death before dishonor kids, death before dishonor.
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