In George We Trust
A(nother) blog about the most storied franchise in sports
Thursday, May 11, 2006
After a thorough beat-down on Tuesday, the Yanks pitched their way to a win in a game that appeared to be heading south by the top of the 2nd. I was going to keep track of Moose's velocity, but the ESPN radar gun was all over the place, reporting 100+ mph fastballs and 50 mph curves before disappearing all together in the 5th. I did keep track of first pitch strikes, which more often than not shows you how each pitcher was doing, and guess what:

Moose didn't throw a first pitch ball until the leadoff batter in the 3rd inning, the 10th batter he faced. He had the Sawx hitters off balance all night with the way he mixed up his pitches, 4 of his 5 K's were of the called strike 3 variety. The only blemish in his game was David Ortiz, who managed to go 4 for 4 on the night before being rolled back into the ocean. He looked like the Moose of old, minus the 93-95 mph fastball.

Melky Cabrera was damn impressive. His outfield play was adequate, as he got a smattering of sarcastic/encouraging cheers after each fly ball he tracked down. He's got a real quick bat at the plate, and even though he didn't get a hit, he engaged Curt Schilling in some serious battles in his 2 ABs against the Sox ace. He fouled off a total of 8 pitches in those 2 ABs (4 when he had 2 strikes), working deep into the count both times. It looks like he's put last year's call-up well behind him.

As far as Melky's prospect brethren, Jose Tabata was featured in yesterday's Daily Dish by BA:

It was just another night for the Yankees' Jose Tabata. The 17-year-old had three more hits, including a double, for low Class A Charleston to extend his hitting streak to eight games and raise his season line to .368/.398/.552.

"He is just a pretty special kid," Charleston manager Bill Mosiello said. "He uses the whole field, and his power numbers are going to get even better as he learns to command the strike zone. "He has great barrel awareness. (He) always gets the fat part of the bat on the ball."

The outfielder's name is littered among the South Atlantic League leaders. He ranks third in hitting with a .368 average while leading the league in hits (46), and he's second in RBIs (31), doubles (14) and extra-base hits (17).With just four walks as opposed to 23 strikeouts, plate discipline appears to be his only flaw as a hitter. But when you are hitting .338 in your pro career, that just seems like nitpicking.

"For his age, he just needs at-bats," Mosiello said. "He puts the ball in play so often, he doesn't get so many walks because doesn't miss his pitches when he gets them."

"Last year he had one more walk than strikeout, so it is not like he has a history of not walking."
"He needs to see the difference between swinging at strikes and swinging at your strikes."

If he does learn the difference, the sky is the limit, because simply swinging at strikes has been a successful formula thus far.

And in grand Thursday tradition, here's the highlights from Jim Callis' ESPN chat:

Mike A. (Chico, CA): Thanks for taking our questions Jim - Jose Tabata has been tearing the cover off the ball with a .950 OPS; only 8 players in baseball have more RBIs than the 17 yr old (5 of them are in the bigs). Do you think the Yankees will rush him and promote him to Tampa sometime this season? Being rushed certainly didn't help Eric Duncan any. Thanks again.
Jim Callis: Duncan got rushed primarily to try to boost his trade value. Tabata is younger, and I would hope the Yankees would have the sense to let him tear up low Class A for a while. If he continues to do so, I could see promoting him in mid-July or so. Duncan was having a good but not great year when he got promoted, and he was older to boot.

Jordan(CT): Robinson Cano or Rickie Weeks
Jim Callis: Let's go to the lightning round of either/or questions . . . Weeks. Neither guy looks like a 2B, though.

James(NYC): Lester or Hughes, and if you say Lester after how he's pitched this season I might flip out...
Jim Callis: Don't flip out. I'd take Hughes right now, too.

aaron (allston ma): AA: 148.1 ip, 163k, 57bb, 10HR, 2.61 ERA or HiA: 30 ip, 30k, 2bb, 0 hr, 1.80 ERA. You just chose the latter because of a slow start in AAA?
Jim Callis: I'm fickle. There's not a huge difference between Lester and Hughes, and right now Hughes is throwing better.

Andrew (Boston, MA): Tabata or Andrus?
Jim Callis: Jose Tabata.

pete, nyc: tabata or fernando martinez?
Jim Callis: Fernando Martinez

Carl(Boston,MA): Beckett or Schilling as your Game 7 WS starter? Same Question Mussina or Johnson?
Jim Callis: Schilling and Mussina.

Rick H. (Yakima, Wa.): Whats wrong with the Big Unit? Hurt or washed up?
Jim Callis: Neither. He's lost something off his fastball but he can still win if he trusts it more.

Reggie (New York): Jim Leyland or Joe Torre?
Jim Callis: Torre.

Henry(Hartford, CT): how can Papelbon be compared to Mariano rivera when papelbon has what is it,10 saves?? Come on now!!!
Jim Callis: Agreed. Anyone who does that is getting way ahead of himself. Now I'm heading back to the draft phones . . .

Down on the Farm:

Triple-A Columbus rained out

Double-A Trenton (5-2 win over Portland, I coulda sworn there was a doubleheader yesterday, but I guess not)
Justin Christian: 0 for 5, 2 K, 1 SB, 1 CS - first time caught stealing all year (18 attempts)
Bronson Sardinha: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB
Randy Ruiz: 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K - if only he could rub some of that off on the other Duncan
Tommy Rojas: 1 for 4, 1 RBI
Phil Hughes: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 WP - allowed 1st HR in over a year (2nd career)
TJ Beam: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K - the first of hopefully 300-400 times we see Beam relieve Hughes
Charlie Manning: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

High-A Tampa (3-2 win over Jupiter in 14 innings)
Brett Gardner: 4 for 6, 2 R, 1 K, 1 CS - why is he not in Trenton yet?
Eduardo Nunez: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (fielding) - XBH parade continues
Cody Ehlers: 2 for 6, 3 RBI, 2 K, 1 SB
Matt Carson: 2 for 6, 3 K
Marcos Vechionacci: 0 for 5, 1 BB, 2 E (throwing & fielding)
Tim Battle: 0 for 5, 2 K
Ben Himes: 0 for 4, 5 K
Jeff Marquez: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K - troubling 3-8 GB/FB ratio for the sinkerballer
Phil Thorp: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Gerardo Casadiego: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Jeff Kennard: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Low-A Charleston rained out (doubleheader today)

Mindblowing Jose Tabata stat of the day (I'll try to keep this going for as long as possible, I'm shooting for 7-10 days): When Tabata drives in a run, Charleston is 14-4. When he doesn't? 5-9.

Update: I may be able to keep the MBJTSOFTD going longer than expected, since I just found this via RLYB.

Anonymous baileywalk said...
That's a quick turnaround about Melky. Yesterday you agreed he was a AAAA player, and now you're excited? I don't know how anyone -- even the "great minds" at "Baseball America" -- can declare someone a fourth outfielder when he's only 21. At 21, you haven't been given enough time to fail. And considering how he played over the winter and then in AAA, it was obviously premature degradation.

Blogger Mike A said...
I never said I was excited, I said I was impressed.

I think Cabrera will ultimately end up a 4-A type player because he doesn't have one great tool, everything is average or just a bit better.

Anonymous steve said...
It's stated that Eric Duncan was rushed for his trade value - but didn't they move him over to first base because they wanted a place for him to advance to as a Yankee?

Blogger Mike A said...
Yeah Steve, it doesn't make sense to me either.

He was rushed prior to Cashman making a commitment to rebuilding thru the system, and the only reason they moved him to Triple-A this year was because they were impressed with his AzFL and spring - other than that, I can't think of anything.

Either, it's been a disaster and his stock is plummeting.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
good luck Yankee fans.....its over

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