Here is Joe G press conference from today courtesy of Peter Abraham. Just click on the link below and you can see what he wrote and listen to the audio.
Joe Girardi audio from today
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I have some notes about the first day of camp thanks to the great beat writer and blog owner Peter Abraham. Hideki Matsui took batting practice for the first time since his knee surgery and looked good. Jorge Posada has been taking BP since December and said his swing is back. He is confident that he will be ready to go for opening day. His focus right now is on learning as much as he can about AJ Burnett and CC Sabathia. If he doesn't catch very many of their games he will be catching their bullpens.
Joe Girardi said as he makes up his rotation he wants to seperate the lefties and keep Joba and AJ apart because of their similarities. Because of this the rotation should shape up this way:
1.CC I guess you could also switch AJ and wang.
Someone asked CC if this is the best rotation he has ever been part of and his response was "Oh yeah."
Jose Molina knows the Yanks may need him to catch roughly 50 games therefore he dropped a few pounds.
Phil Hughes put on about 10 pounds of muscle. He did attend a athletes performance center in Arizona in the offseason to help avoid injuries this year.
Sabathia said part of his success in Milwaukee came from throwing a two seam fastball at the behest of his pitching coach Mike Maddux. "It's a good pitch for him," Posada said. "I thought he had one before because his four seamer runs so much."
CC only threw fastballs and changeups today in his bullpen session. He will throw all of his pitches on Monday.
A reporter mistakingly asked Girardi if he was "juiced up" watching the first workout before he realized he made a poor choice of words. Everyone laughed when the reporter said sorry poor choice of words. There were no Arod questions for Girardi.
The Yankees look to be in good spirits and have a formidable staff here, everyone seems to get along real well also, I really think this is going to be a team more like the late 90s teams.
Peter Abraham has a list on his site http://yankees.lhblogs.com
AJ Burnett is throwing to Molina
Joba is throwing to Kevin Cash
IPK is throwing to Austine Romine
CC is throwing to Jorge Posada
The other guys throwing today are Giese,Bruney,Albaladejo,Igawa(who let him on the field),Veras,Robertson,Cox,Dunn,Garcia,Kontos. Wang and Pettitte threw yesterday. I am sure most of you are saying who are some of the guys on the end of the list. If you want to know comment me or email me and I will discuss them more, but they are minor leaguers.
CC Sabathia spoke to the media for about 12 minutes in the dugout today at George M. Steinbrenner Field. I transcribed the comments from his media session. He said he goes out and plays hard and likes to be a good teammate. Someone asked him about pitching in NY and he said it helps that he has pitched in big games before. He of course feels pressure by the contract but no one will put more pressure on him then he already puts on himself. He said he expects to go out there and pitch well and win every game that he starts. He said he started playing catch right after thanksgiving every Monday,Wednesday and Friday and has continued that up until now. He said he feels really good and felt good last yr. They asked him about pitching on 3 days rest and he said he wanted to do it, no one forced him, he said his agent was freaking out and he had to shut off his phone and block his agent from calling him. He is excited about NY, happy to have AJ with him so that they can lean on each other and go through this together. He said its unfortunate about Arod, all he can do is get to know him and support him. When I was listening to him I am thinking what a great guy, the media, fans and team are going to love this guy. He is going to give everything he has and just wants to win.
Update: The Yankees have signed pitcher Brett Tomko to a minor league deal. Peter Abraham reports this on his blog. Check him out at http://yankees.lhblogs.com. He stinks but hey you never have enough pitching and maybe if he pitches well they can trade him off for a prospect or two.
CC really is the man, everyone is going to love him. I hope to have more quotes later or the audio. CC Sabathia when he was pitching on 3 days rest last year with the Brewers, kept getting calls from his agent. He said "I had to shut off my phone and block his calls. I felt fine. Nobody asked me to do that, I wanted to." "I feel great, to be honest with you" he said and doesn't regret what he did. " I would do it again." He said he has purchased a home in New Jersey and will live there year round.
AJ Burnett was asked what he thought of Pettitte and Joba in the back end of the rotation and he said " I'm not sure there is a back end."
I really like these guys so far, they seem like cool laid back people and if they stay healthy the Yankees are in great shape. CC seems like a true leader and the Yankees and the fans are going to love having him around.
Here are some pictures from down in Tampa. Today is the official report day for pitchers and catchers with the rest of the squad set to report officially on Tuesday. Jeter and Swish are over at the minor league complex as well as others. Joe Girardi got his first taste of the media in 2009. This is a great day as baseball is finally back.
Joe Girardi met with the media today for the first time in 2009. The majority of the questions were of course regarding Alex Rodriguez but then he did get to some baseball stuff. He said he hasn't talked to Arod regarding him addressing his teammates and he is sure he will meet with the media but he is not sure how he will handle it. He said as long as this isn't a distraction on the field they will be fine. He said it takes a lot of people to win a championship so if Arod doesn't have a great year that doesn't mean they can't win a title. Joe said it is important for him to relax and put up the numbers he is capable of. He did say with all the injuries last year he is going to cut back on all the running that he had the team go through last spring. They expect Melky or Gardner to be in CF but in Yankeeland anything is possible Girardi said. He thinks Nady will be the RF right now but Swisher is going to have a chance. Hideki Matsui had his knees check out today and he is doing fine. I think Joe Girardi did a good job with the media and he even admitted to the media that if they don't get back to the playoffs he expects he won't be the manager after this year. He said he has a good relationship with Arod and they talk a lot. I think Joe was very candid and honest and a good start as he had a rough time with the media last year. I think Joe is a very good manager on the field and if he can improve his handling of the players and the media he will be in great shape especially if this team performs the way that they can. Tomorrow the pitchers and catchers will report and I can't wait, I hope we will have some quotes from CC and AJ but we will see.
I like this picture, not too great it came from a camera phone that Peter Abraham of the Journal News has. It is Joba and Phil Hughes throwing bullpen sessions. I think Phil will come in handy this year, it looks like he will start in AAA-Scranton but will basically be the Yankees 6th starter.
Future aces of America
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Here is a picture of AJ Burnett long tossing today at Yankees minor league complex. It is good to see this and I really believe he is a big key to the Yankees season. If AJ is healthy and pitches the Yankees staff is pretty formidable. CC and AJ at top with Wang and then Pettitte and Joba in the back that is pretty scary.
A. J. arrives
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Here is a picture of Steinbrenner field all ready to go as pitchers and catchers report tomorrow and position players on Wednesday. I know you guys are wondering how did you get that pic did you Jet down to Florida, no I wish I did though. Peter Abraham of the Journal News had this pic on his site at http://yankees.lhblogs.com The media is assembled down there waiting for Joe Girardis first session with them. Joe G and Brian Cashman and all of the coaches have been in meetings all morning about the pitchers and catchers that are in camp and as soon as they are done Joe will meet the media. I will be posting quotes and some things he said as well as what Brian Cashman the GM had to say this morning. We are close to baseball now and although it will be a circus it is good to see a baseball field and to be talking some real baseball. Oh yeah just a quick note but AJ Burnett was at the minor league complex today playing long toss and working out.
I know im a little late on this as I have been focused on baseball but Brett Favre has finally retired. I know we have been down this road before but it looks like it is real this time. Brett Favre is probably a hall of fame quarterback but he didn't have too great a season with the Jets in his final season. He was rushed into a new system after all the drama with Green Bay and probably should of just stayed home. The Jets are now in a better place because they can plan for the future and not be held hostage by Brett. The Jets though do need a QB and may go threw a growing period with a new head coach and new QB. It will be interesting to see if they go with one of the young kids or bring someone in or draft another QB. I think I would give Clemmans a chance and see what you have.
Bobby Abreu signed a 1 yr 5 million dollar deal with the Anaheim Angels. This deal also includes incentives. Adam Dunn signed a 2 yr 20million dollar deal with the Washington Nationals. Manny Ramirez is still out there as the biggest name. I wonder if guys will sign minor league deals and head to camp to try and win a job and then see if they can latch on with someone else if they don't make it or just wait it out and see if a team gets desperate the closer we get to the start of the season. There aren't really too many big names left now.
The Yankees said today that three more minor leaguers will be added to big league camp. Pitchers J.B. Cox,George Kontos,Kanekoa Texeira. J.B. Cox has always been a highly regarded relief prospect and is coming off of some injuries but is still a guy to watch. George Kontos is a guy that the Yanks drafted out of Northwestern a couple of years ago and is a starting pitcher who may be in AAA this year. Texeira was the other guy inclued in the Nick Swisher trade and is another relief guy to add to the mix. It will be interesting to see some of these younger guys especially when the regulars are out to the WBC.
I am so happy to finally be writing about something non Arod related. I am saying this though and still mentioning Arod, we just can't escape from it. I am going to get to it now that thats out of my system. I want to thank Peter Abraham for this information, Brian Bruney and Jonathan Albaladejo were both at the workout this morning. Brian Bruney was still trim and looked great, Pete thinks he will be a big part of the puzzle and so do I. A lot of people forget that he was hurt for most of the year last year and when he did pitch he was dominating. I expect Bruney to be the main setup guy at least at the beginning for MO. Albaladejo was definitely a forgotten man, he pitched pretty well before he got hurt and had an absolutely great winter season. I think he is in the mix amongst the other bullpen arms. The Yankees are really stacked in the bullpen and it will be a great race to see who makes it out of spring training other then MO,Bruney,Marte.
There is some good news about Jorge Posada, he has been showing good pop in the batting cage and also it seems to be a good sign that he is coming up and throwing out of the crouch. The Yankees of course will be cautious with him but he should be ready to go on opening day.
Here is a good look at a Yankees Top 20 Prospect List which was put out by Camden Depot which is of course a Baltimore Orioles site. You can check it out at http://camdendepot.com. I think it is a good job by these guys, i haven't got my copy yet of the basball America prospects handbook but hope to do so soon and write a report on it.
Fall/Winter 2009: Minor League Review
Our Fall/Winter Minor League review will consist of three separate series. First we will step through each organization with a look at their Top 20 prospects. During the unveiling of our Top 20 Prospects lists, we'll count down the Top 30 prospects in the Baltimore Orioles system, with a scouting report provided for each player. Once our organizational examinations are completed, we'll round-up our offseason coverage with a cumulative ranking of the organizations, our Top 100 MiL Prospects list and our 1st and 2nd All-Prospect Teams. Kindly note that letter grades assigned to prospects are intended for comparative purposes within the CamdenDepot ranking universe, and are not intended as a means to compare players against other scouting services' rating systems. A "B+" or "C" rating assigned in our pieces is based on our own proprietary rating system and is not intended to be interchangeable with letter grades provided by other services. All listed ages are as of December 31, 2008. For more information on our methodology, pleace visit the About Us page. See All Top 20 Lists
Top 20 Prospects: New York Yankees (2/7/2009)
With Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy no longer prospect-eligible, and after failing to sign two of their top three selections in the 2008 Rule 4 Draft, the Yankees system has thinned-out a fair amount. The largest current "need" is quite simply high-ceiling talent. Currently, Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman hold the highest ceilings, and each have questions surrounding their game. Montero isn't a great fit behind the plate and his "best fit" position will be occupied by Mark Teixeira for the foreseeable future. Brackman and Betances both have front-end stuff but will likely continue to struggle to repeat their deliveries and release points due to size. One bright side is a young group of potential breakout candidates in Brett Marshall, Arodys Vizcaino, Eduardo Sosa and Jairo Heredia. With a solid team in place at the Major League level, the Yankees have Austin Jackson and a solid group of arms in the pen ready to step in and fill some holes as early as 2009/10. The organization will arguably be in a position to wait out this next crop of talented young players, but the Yankees would be well served to make good use of the international market as well as their only two picks in the first hundred or so (comp picks for failure to sign Gerrit Cole (R1) and Scott Bittle (R2)) of this year's Rule 4 -- the Yankees lost each of their first three picks for the 2009 Rule 4 Draft after signing Teixeira, Sabathia and Burnett this off-season.
Submit Comments or Questions for Prospect Mailbag #1
Top 20 Prospects 1. Austin Jackson Stats Depot Grade: B+6-1 / 185 Age - 21 OF B/T - R/R Drafted - 2005 (R8) Denton HS (TX)Floor: Below-AVG CF Ceiling: Above-AVG CF Projection: AVG CFNotes: The plus-defender continued to creep closer to the bigs in 2008, despite an August-to-forget in which he saw his strikeout-rate rise and his walk-rate drastically decrease. Because he has just average bat-speed, Jackson will need to continue to refine his pitch-ID and strikezone command in order to have continued success at AAA and above. In addition to making pitch-ID a tad more challenging, his average bat speed will likely prevent him from developing more than average power. While his offensive upside is somewhat limited at this point, Jackson has true game-changing potential in the field. He has solid range in center field and tracks the ball well to both gaps. More than capable of covering above-average ground, Jackson profiles as a plus-defender up-the-middle with the potential to be an average producer at the plate. He’ll likely start in AAA Scranton and could get a call as early as mid-season in 2009.
2. Jesus Montero Stats Depot Grade: B+6-4 / 225 Age - 19 C B/T - R/R Signed - 2006 VenezuelaFloor: Below-AVG 1B Ceiling: Above-AVG C Projection: Above-AVG 1BNotes: Montero projects to hit for average and for power, showing a solid approach for his age/level and flashing plus-power pole-to-pole. He can get a little too aggressive at times, a flaw that is amplified due to his still fringy pitch-ID. Still young for his level, these are holes that should be corrected in due time as the talented slugger has already shown an ability to adjust. After posting May and June lines of .248/.313/.381 and .271/.340/./341. Montero torched the Sally League the second time through to the tune of July and August lines of .341/.394/.527 and .373/.428/.595, respectively. While advanced offensively, defense is another story altogether. Montero is a fringy receiver with below-average catch-and-throw skills (throwing out just 25% of potential base-stealers). Combine this with his large frame and you get a catcher likely better suited for LF or 1B. With Teixeira in place at first for the foreseeable future, the Yankees will undoubtedly keep Montero at catcher as long as they can, where his bat would be elite.
3. Dellin Betances Stats Depot Grade: B6-7 / 195 Age - 20 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2006 (R8) New York Prep (NY)Floor: Middle-relief Ceiling: Front-end Starter Projection: #3 StarterNotes: After a slow start in 2008 Betances finished the summer on a roll, allowing just one homerun in his last 60.3 IP and posting a solid 71/19 SO/BB rate over the same two month span. The young righty relies primarily on a mid-90s fastball with plus-life. His curve flashes plus with hard, late, downer action and serves as a solid swing-and-miss pitch. His changeup comes with some fade, but it’s still fairly inconsistent. Betances struggles at times to repeat his motion and, as a result, can struggle to find a consistent release point particularly with his secondary stuff. At 6-7, it’s still a struggle to get all of the parts working together on a regular basis, but he showed solid improvement throughout the summer culminating in a terrific July and August. The Yankees will allow Bentances to take his time with hopes that he’ll develop into a legitimate homegrown front-end starter.
4. Andrew Brackman Stats - N/A Depot Grade: B6-10 / 270 Age - 23 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2007 (R1) North Carolina State UniversityFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Front-end Starter Projection: #3 StarterNotes: After missing his entire first professional season due to Tommy John surgery, Brackman struggled a bit with his command in Hawaii Winter Baseball. Though he was far from his peak, Brackman still finished third in the league recording 36 strikeouts in 34 innings of work, teaming-up with fellow Top 20 prospect Jeremy Bleich in helping Waikiki to a title. At his best, Brackman throws with a sharp downward plane, sitting in the mid-90s with his fastball. His best offering is a fringe-plus-plus curveball with hard late break – a true swing-and-miss pitch he can use effectively both in and out of the zone. While he has legit front-end stuff, he has struggled to maintain his mechanics and his release point, leading to inconsistency in the shape of his curve as well as his command across the board. His size will always work against him in repeating his motion, but Brackman’s “ace” upside and solid athleticism should help him along. Even if he doesn’t reach his ceiling, Brackman is an excellent candidate to provide solid ML-value down the line.
5. Zach McAllister Stats Depot Grade: B-6-6 / 230 Age - 21 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2006 (R3) Chillicothe HS (IL)Floor: Bullpen Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: #4 Starter
Notes: McAllister sits in the low-90s with a heavy fastball (plus-boring action). His slider is a fringe-average pitch that’s still too inconsistent to be a legit threat, though he has worked to improve repeating his release point. His changeup has some depth and he throws it with good arm-speed. Working on a downward plane, his sinking fastball and changeup helped produce an impressive groundball percentage of 60% (LoA), dropping down to 50% in HiA. With solid command already, McAllister will focus on maintaining his stuff later into the game as he works to stay a starter. He’ll likely get a shot at AA at some point in 2009.
6. Mark Melancon Stats Depot Grade: B-6-2 / 215 Age - 23 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2006 (R9) University of ArizonaFloor: Middle-relief Ceiling: Closer Projection: Late-inning ReliefNotes: Melancon drastically out-performed expectations in 2008, shooting through three levels while posting a cumulative WHIP of 0.92 and holding opponents to a BAA of .204. The former Arizona Wildcat throws an above-average power curveball with hard, tight break as his premier offering. His fastball isn’t far behind, sitting in the low- to mid-90s and effectively working both sides of the plate. Melancon has a true back-of-the-bullpen swagger on the mound and has the mental toughness and aggressiveness to pound hitters without fear. He should get a shot to carve-out a spot in the Yankees pen this spring and could be an impact arm right away.
7. Phil Coke Stats Depot Grade: B-6-1 / 210 Age - 26 LHP B/T - L/L Drafted - 2002 (R26) San Joaquin Delta College (CA)Floor: Middle-relief Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: Late-inning ReliefNotes: Coke took a nice step forward in 2008, showing solid command across the board with his four offerings (fastball/slider/changeup/splitter). His stuff played-up in relief, where his fastball topped-out in the mid-90s and his slider in the mid-80s. While he gets average bite on his slider, it plays-up due to the fact that it’s a late-breaker that can miss some bats. He uses both his straight change and his splitter as change-of-pace pitches and does a solid job commanding both down in the zone. The Yankees could keep Coke in the pen as a lefty ultimately capable of working the late innings or they could start him back in AAA to continue to develop as a starter with a mid-rotation ceiling.
8. Arodys Vizcaino Stats Depot Grade: B-6-0 / 190 Age - 18 RHP B/T - R/R Signed - 2007 Dominican RepublicFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: Late-inning ReliefNotes: As a seventeen-year old in the Gulf Coast League, Vizcaino more than held his own off the strength of a two-pitch mix that’s already above-average. His fastball is a mid-90s offering that he throws with easy arm action and a seemingly effortless delivery. His curve is an upper-70s power-pitch that flashes plus-late break. He’s learning to add a changeup into his repertoire, though it would be a stretch to even call it a “show me” pitch at this point. Provided he can develop the offering, Vizcaino projects to a mid-rotation ceiling. If he struggles to command a viable third pitch he could be a big arm at the back of a bullpen.
9. Brett Marshall Stats Depot Grade: B-6-0 / 195 Age - 18 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2008 (R6) Sterling HS (TX)Floor: Non-prospect Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: Late-inning ReliefNotes: Marshall was selected in the sixth round of this year’s Rule 4 Draft and could prove to be a terrific bargain. While his stuff was generally inconsistent throughout his senior year at Sterling HS, there is lots to like about his power arsenal. Through the 2007 summer circuit and his senior year, Marshall saw his fastball velocity fluctuate from the low- to upper-90s, making it difficult for scouts to get a solid read. Part of this may be due to a high-effort delivery that produces inconsistent mechanics. The Yankees will work to improve his repeatability and maintain the velocity he flashes in the summer of ‘07. His slider is a second potential plus-pitch, sitting in the mid-80s and flashing solid spin. His changeup is still raw. Marshall may ultimately fit best in the pen with his max-effort delivery and power-mix, but he has mid-rotation upside. He should get a shot at Short-season Staten Island in ’09.
10. Austin Romine Stats Depot Grade: C+6-1 / 195 Age - 20 C B/T - R/R Drafted - 2007 (R2) El Toro HS (CA)Floor: AAAA Ceiling: AVG C Projection: Below-AVG CNotes: Splitting time behind the plate with fellow Top 10er Jesus Montero, Romine is the purer receiver of the two and stands a much better chance of providing defensive value down the line. He shows a good transfer and release, though his accuracy is lacking at times (possibly due to inconsistent footwork). At the plate, Romine had a solid showing in the Sally League, capping a decent season with an impressive August (.359/.414/.521 over 117 ABs). While raking his way through the end of the season, Romine sported a BABIP of .396, noticeably higher than his average over the rest of the season (and not accompanied by a significant increase in LD%). If he can keep is momentum going through 2009, as well as show that his August success is sustainable, he could bump up the organizational prospect ranks quickly. For now, his bat still lacks noticeably behind platoon-mate Jesus Montero, likely keeping him second fiddle behind the plate at HiA Tampa in 2009.
11. Christian Garcia Stats Depot Grade: C+6-5 / 205 Age - 23 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2004 (R3) Gulliver Prep HS (FL)Floor: Middle-relief Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: #4 StarterNotes: Garcia took a nice step forward in 2008, showing three potential above-average offerings, the best of them being a hard, low-80s downer curveball (among the best breaking balls in the system). His fastball sits in the low-90s with lots of late life, giving him two solid swing and miss pitches. His changeup is solid-average, flashing occasional depth (though he can get a little inconsistent with his arm-speed and slot). Though he generally shows solid command, his secondary stuff is still inconsistent, particularly in the zone. When he isn’t spotting his curve, Garcia can be very hittable. There’s decent mid-rotation upside but he’s still a ways away, at this point.
12. Kanekoa Texeira Stats Depot Grade: C+6-0 / 210 Age - 20 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2006 (R22) Saddleback College (CA)Floor: Bullpen Ceiling: Closer Projection: Late-inning ReliefNotes: Texeira sits in the low-90s with his fastball, flashing solid sink. His slider has average tilt and he commands it well down in the zone, along with his fastball, helping to produce consistent groundballs. His changeup is still just a “show me” pitch, though he doesn’t need to rely on it much. He misses bats and commands his fastball well to the quadrants, setting up his slider well. His upside is that of a solid Major League stopper in the back of a pen.
13. Jeremy Bleich Stats Depot Grade: C+6-2 / 195 Age - 21 LHP B/T - L/L Drafted - 2008 (R1s) Stanford UniversityFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: #4 StarterNotes: Bleich was dominant against an overmatched Hawaii Winter Baseball League, earning All-League honors and posting an ERA of 1.77 and a WHIP of 1.15 over 35.7 IP while striking out 32. Bleich sits right around 90 mph with his fastball, though he can bump it up to 93 when he reaches back. His best secondary offering is an above-average straight change that plays-up due to his ability to throw it with above-average arm-speed out of the same slot as his fastball. His curve can be an average pitch, though he gets inconsistent shape and depth. He commands all of his pitches well though none of them have much room for projection. Bleich scores highly on the pitchability scale and could move quickly through the system towards an ultimate mid-rotation ceiling.
14. Eduardo Sosa Stats Depot Grade: C+5-11 / 155 Age - 17 OF B/T - L/L Signed - 2007 VenezuelaFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Above-AVG CF Projection: 4th OFNotes: Sosa spent 2008 flashing some of his upside in the Dominican Summer League as a seventeen-year old. Despite a smallish frame, Sosa shows surprising pop when he squares-up. His strikezone command is solid for his age and experience, though like most teenagers he will need to work on his pitch-ID. In the field, Sosa has speed and range to spare, tracking the ball well and already taking solid routes. His arm is just average but should be able to play in center. Sosa should be an interesting player to follow, particularly as he adds some strength to his frame. Because he’s aggressive at the plate, it will be important for him to develop his pitch-ID and focus on hitting his pitch more frequently.
15. Jairo Heredia Stats Depot Grade: C+6-1 / 170 Age - 19 RHP B/T - R/R Signed - 2008 Dominican RepublicFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: #4 StarterNotes: Heredia, another teenager with breakout potential, managed nearly a strikeout per inning as an eighteen-year old in the Sally League. His best offering is probably his low-90s fastball with plus-life. He mixes-in a 12/6 curveball that generally sits in the mid- to upper-70s and serves as a change-of-pace offering. The pitch flashes plus-potential and can change the eye-level of the hitter when he’s on. His changeup is still a below-average pitch though he shows enough feel and fade for it to project as a third above-average offering down the line. Heredia faded a bit down the stretch, losing some of his command. Still, it was a promising season in which the youngster showed a feel for his secondary pitches not generally seen at such a young age. He’ll need to continue to build-up endurance and arm-strength, and adding some strength to his frame could help assuage some fears as to his future durability.
16. David Phelps Stats Depot Grade: C+6-3 / 180 Age - 22 RHP B/T - R/R Drafted - 2008 (R14) University of Notre DameFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: #4 StarterNotes: The Golden Domer saw a dramatic fall-off in production from his sophomore season, though he flashed some of his old stuff in the NY/Penn League. His fastball is generally an upper-80s offering, though he has sat in the low-90s in the past. His curve flashes hard, late break and could be a plus-offering if he can get more consistent spin (perhaps by more effectively repeating his release point). He shows a solid feel for his changeup and an understanding of how to use it, particularly against right-handed hitters. The Yankees will focus on refining his delivery and working on its repeatability. After a promising showing in almost 75 IP with Staten Island, Phelps will get a chance to prove he’s back on the right track in LoA Charleston in 2009.
17. Alfredo Aceves Stats Depot Grade: C+5-10 / 175 Age - 26 RHP B/T - R/R Signed - 2008 MexicoFloor: Middle-relief Ceiling: Back-end Starter Projection: Middle-reliefNotes: The name of Aceves’s game is “pitchability”. The former Mexican Leaguer utilizes plus-plus-command to help his average offerings play-up. His fastball is a low-90s offering with minimal movement, but Aceves commands it well to all quadrants. His curveball and cutter have average movement, while his changeup flashes some tumble at times. Without a dominant pitch, it’s unclear where Aceves will provide the most value. He could fill several roles, including a back-end starter, swingman/spot-starter, multiple-inning arm or situational righty in the pen (his arsenal tends to play better against righties as he lacks a true out pitch against lefties). He’s a bit undersized, perhaps making the pen the most logical destination. He’ll have to spot his stuff to be successful, but Aceves has the tools to be a valuable piece of a Major League staff in the near future.
18. Corban Joseph Stats Depot Grade: C+6-0 / 170 Age - 20 SS B/T - L/R Drafted - 2008 (R4) Franklin HS (TN)Floor: AAAA Ceiling: Above-AVG SS Projection: Below-AVG SSNotes: Corban was the fourth draftee selected by the Yankees in this past season’s Rule 4 Draft and jumped right into the mix with the Gulf Coast Yankees, posting a solid line of .277/.359/.434 in 159 ABs. Joseph keeps a short path to the ball and combines a compact swing with above-average bat speed to produce above-average power to all fields. He’s already demonstrating solid pitch-ID and works the count well, showing above-average plate discipline for his league. He handles shortstop well, showing average range to both sides and adequate hands. As he adds some size it’s possible he may have to shift over to third where his bat may be fringy. For now, the Yankees will keep him at the six-spot until he forces them to do otherwise.
19. Wilkins de la Rosa Stats Depot Grade: C+6-0 / 165 Age - 23 LHP B/T - L/L Signed - 2001 Dominican RepublicFloor: AAAA Ceiling: Mid-rotation Starter Projection: Middle-reliefNotes: De la Rosa, though not young for the Florida State League (he’s a converted OF), showed flashes of above-average power stuff. His fastball is a low- to mid-90s offering, while his power slider sits in the low- to mid-80s. The big drawback on his slider is the lack of consistency in its spin, though it has the makings of a solid above-average pitch. He shows some feel for a changeup with fade, but his command needs improvement across the board. While he over-powered LoA hitters off the strength of his FB/SL, De la Rosa will need to improve the consistency of his secondary offerings in order to remain a starter. If not, he could provide solid value as a lefty in the pen.
20. David Adams Stats Depot Grade: C+6-2 / 190 Age - 21 2B B/T - R/R Drafted - 2008 (R3) University of Virginia Floor: AAAA Ceiling: AVG 2B Projection: Below-AVG 2BNotes: The former UVA Cavalier saw his stock slip in last year’s Rule 4 Draft after suffering through a difficult junior season in which he underperformed to the tune of a BA over 100 points lighter than 2007. The Yankees looked past his ’08 struggles, instead focusing on his solid approach at the plate, good hand/eye coordination and ability to square-up. He has a hitchy load that leads to inconsistent swing plane that may be problematic at the upper-levels (while he has succeeded in the past with wood, it was against like talent rather than top pro arms). If New York can clean-up his mechanics a bit, he could prove to be a steal in the third round. Defensively, Adams is solid around the bag and should be adequate at second as a pro.
10 More Prospects to Watch Kyle Higashioka,Manuel Banuelos,Brad Suttle,DJ Mitchell,Cory Arbiso,George Kontos,Chris Smith,Michael O'Brien,Humberto Sanchez,David Robertson
#2 Jesus Montero
Organizational Leaders:Hitting – Jesus MonteroPower – Jesus MonteroDefense – Austin JacksonRHSP – Dellin BetancesLHSP – Jeremy BleichFuture RP – Mark Melancon2009 Breakout Candidates:Pitcher – Jairo HerediaHitter – Eduardo SosaBounce-back Candidate:Humberto Sanchez
If anyone really cares Selena Roberts the Sports Illustrated reporter that broke the Arod story was on WFAN radio in NY today with Kim Jones and Evan Roberts. You can go to http://www.wfan.com to check out the interview. You have to go to the Joe and Evan audio and you will see it. I just saw this as I am typing, Joe Girardi was also on WFAN today with Mike Francessa, check that out if you are on the site.
I also have some actual baseball news from Peter Abraham of the Journal News and http://yankees.lhblogs.com He arrived in Tampa yesterday for spring training and spent some time with the players that are there already. Joba,Jeter,Brett Gardner,Ching Ming Wang,Phil Hughes,Nick Swisher,Jorge Posada and some minor leaguers are all there along with pitching coach Dave Eiland and third base coach Rob Thomson. He said Ching Ming Wang looked good that he arrived in Arizona in mid January before arriving in Tampa. He has thrown off of a mound twice and will do so again tomorrow. He was happy about the CC and AJ aquisitions saying thats great for us. Pete said that Hughes has been there for a while also and that is good for him since he probably won't make the team but is working hard and ready to go if needed. He also chatted with Brett Gardner and you can check out the audio of that on Peters Blog at the link above.
Here is the New York Yankees response to Arods admission today.
STATEMENT FROM THE NEW YORK YANKEES
RE: ALEX RODRIGUEZ
“We strongly believe there is no place in baseball for performance enhancing drugs of any type, and we support the efforts of the Commissioner to continually improve the testing process.
“We urged Alex to be completely open, honest and forthcoming in addressing his use of performance enhancing drugs. We take him at his word that he was. Although we are disappointed in the mistake he spoke to today, we realize that Alex—like all of us—is a human being not immune to fault.
“We speak often about the members of this organization being part of a family, and that is never more true than in times of adversity. Alex took a big step by admitting his mistake, and while there is no condoning the use of performance enhancing drugs, we respect his decision to take accountability for his actions. We support Alex, and we will do everything we can to help him deal with this challenge and prepare for the upcoming season.”——————With that, I think I am done for the night. I have one more newspaper story to finish and two bags to unpack. Thanks to everybody for reading and participating today. I appreciate it.
Here is a statement from MLB Players Association Executive Director Donald Fehr. This comes courtesy of Peter Abraham of the Journal News and http://yankees.lhblogs.com Please check out his blog and support it.
This from the MLBPA:
Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director, Donald M. Fehr, today issued the following statement in response to questions raised concerning recent reports about the 2003 testing program.
“We are issuing this statement today to respond to two questions that have been raised in the last few days in connection with reports about Alex Rodriguez and the 2003 MLB testing program. First, it has been asked why the results from our 2003 survey tests were not destroyed before they were seized by the government in the spring of 2004. The short answer is that in November, 2003, before that could take place, a grand jury subpoena for program records was issued.
“In mid-November 2003, the 2003 survey test results were tabulated and finalized. The MLBPA first received results on Tuesday, November 11. Those results were finalized on Thursday, November 13, and the players were advised by a memo dated Friday, November 14. Promptly thereafter, the first steps were taken to begin the process of destruction of the testing materials and records, as contemplated by the Basic Agreement. On November 19, however, we learned that the government had issued a subpoena. Upon learning this, we concluded, of course, that it would be improper to proceed with the destruction of the materials.
The fact that such a subpoena issued in November 2003 has been part of the public record for more than two years. See, U.S. v. CDT, 473 F3d at 920 (2006), and 513 F3d at 1090 (2008) (both opinions have now been vacated). Other subpoenas followed, including one for all test results.
“Over the next several months we attempted to negotiate a resolution of the matter with the United States Attorneys Office for the Northern District of California. During that time we pledged to the government attorneys that the materials would not be destroyed. When the government attorneys refused to withdraw its subpoena for all 2003 test results, we decided to ask a judge to determine to what the government was entitled. See, 473 F3d at 944, and 513 F3d at 1118. On the same day we were filing our papers with the court, the government attorneys obtained a search warrant and they began seizing materials the following day. Pursuant to that search warrant which named only 10 individuals, the government seized records for every baseball player tested under our program, in addition to many records related to testing in other sports, and even records for other (non-sport) business entities.
“Later in 2004 three federal district judges in three different judicial districts ruled that the government’s seizures were unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment and ordered the government to return all the materials seized (except for those related to the 10 players listed in the original search warrant). The government appealed and the matter is still pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On December 18, 2008, the case was reargued before an en banc panel of Ninth Circuit judges.
“The second question that has been raised in recent days is whether Gene Orza or any other MLBPA official was engaged in improper “tipping” of players about 2004 tests. As we have said before, there was no improper tipping of players. Any allegations that Gene Orza or any other MLBPA official acted improperly are wrong.”
I have now seen the whole interview like everyone else and I have reaction. I have to say I think he did a good job, I know some people feel he is still lying and all that but the bottom line is that he did admit it and didn't try and say he took it because of injury or anything like that. He did say a lot about GNC and the culture of the time and basically saying everyone was doing it. He did say he is the only one to blame and that he was sorry and all that. I know people will always pick him apart but I think he did the right thing here. I was suprised by the allegations against Selena Roberts who broke the story that she basically stalked him, i really think he should sue her because why did she just get his name and it is suspicious that she is writing a book about him. He did say he wants to educate and help children now and would like to work in Washington Heights on that where he was born. He said a lot about wanting to move on and he has a lot of years and only those 2 were him being stupid,naive but to judge him on the other years. I do think he was the most honest of any of the guys that have been caught. I mean Giambi was forgiven and he really didn't say much other then apologizing for something he did but wouldn't say what he exactly did and Pettitte just said it was because of an injury which is ridiculous also. He said he is more worried about winning a world series then being in the Hall of Fame and its not up to him, they will vote for who they want too. He just said the Canseco stuff isn't true about him hooking Alex up with a known dealer. I hope they don't dig deeper into this because if the stuff about the reporter stalking him and the Canseco stuff isn't true oh boy is he in trouble. I will have to believe him and lets hope they just move on from this and let baseball be played. I also hope the other names come out now and they move away from him and onto them. I want to say once again I believe people will say a lot of things but the bottom line is if the Yankees win and he helps them everyone will love him. He said even though he is the king of tabloids he wouldn't trade his life for anything. He said he will tell his daughters that he was stupid for 3 years and went after Selena Roberts again. He said he will tell kids to work hard, what you have is enough, dont make the same mistakes that I made. He said this is the worst thing that happened to him along with his divorce, he is sorry he is always in the middle of these controversies and wants to move on. He said he hasn't read Joe Torres book and he has a lot of respect for him and has no problems and thought the year he left they had the best relationship. He said in the clubhouse everyone makes fun of him from the manager, the players, the ball boys and that he likes it, he is a good reciever of jokes, not a good taker. He said he is answering all the questions today and isn't worried that the truth is the truth. He said baseball can be as much fun again like in his rookie year because he wants to win a title. He cant wait to get to spring training to have this gorilla off his back, to have the team he has and to be over the divorce stuff. He said now he can just go out and play the game he loves and not worry about anything. He said there are no excuses and he feels deep regret for what he did. He said he is not sure if he can prove his innocence since 2003 but he will continue to play great baseball. Arod said he has no interest in seeing the rest of the names on the list, he is just proud about coming forward with his situation and that is all he cares about. He said he is glad this is behind him and he has addressed it and he will continue to do so and eventually to just get playing baseball. Peter Gammons is saying now he was really emotional and that saddens him. He said he didn't know what Arod was going to do but he got right to it and admitted it right away and that was good.
I thank Peter Abraham of the Journal News and http://yankees.lhblogs.com for this. He spoke with Brian Cashman and Cash said that Joba will be the fifth starter and once he hits his innings limits that will be it. They have no thought of using him out of the pen at all and by him being the fifth starter they can skip starts and all to help him. He also said he absolutely likes the idea of keeping both Nady and Swisher. A trade could happen but there is some value in roster flexibility. Cash said Nady can cover them in right and left and that Swish can play right,left,first base and center in an emergency. It gives the manager a lot of choices. There are high hopes for Melky to reclaim center. Cash said that Melky played well in winter ball and has to have the competiveness to put last year behind him. The good ones always find a way he said, he also said it is a competition and Gardner will get a long look and that Austin Jackson will be in the minors all year. He said he is wide open to having veterans come to camp and try to earn a job but no word on whose those guys might be.
Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada both spoke today from the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa,Florida. "You have to give him the benefit of the doubt" Jeter told reporters. "My initial reaction is let him respond,give him the respect to respond to it before you pass judgement." "Yeah of course everyone was shocked by it, you have to find out both sides of the story before you make an assessment."
Jorge Posada had this to say, "I've gotta say Alex is my teammate and is going to be my friend forever." "I'm going to support him any way that I can." Jorge said that he had sent Alex a text message but hasn't heard back from him yet. Derek Jeter wouldn't say if he has tried to contact him. Asked if they were concerned about being on the list here is what they had to say.
Derek Jeter-"Why would I worry about being on the list."
Jorge Posada-"I hope not, i think I have dont things right."
I don't like Posadas quote there, doesn't sound too convincing but hey I don't know anymore, they were all taking it as far as im concerned.
Alex Rodriguez sat down with ESPN's Peter Gammons today at his Miami home. The interview will be aired on sportscenter at 6:00PM. In the interview he does admit he used steroids from 2001-2003 to live up to his contract and back then it was the culture of the time. He apologized to everyone and said he hasn't used since. It will be interesting to see the whole interview but this I feel was the right thing for him to do. No matter how you feel it wasn't illegal then and its good to admit it and move on. I will be back later with more reaction and statements if there are any.
SI's Jon Heyman is reporting that Arod is most likely going to make a statement today. He is contemplating whether to just issue a statement or do a live national TV interview. We await word and as soon as more information becomes available I will try and post about it as fast as possible. I know in the court of public opinion it doesn't matter what he says, but I am very interested to see if he fights it or just admits it, either way he better just be telling the truth.
I don't think this will be a well constructed piece of writing but I am going to write my thoughts here anyway. I would like to start by saying I find it funny that the one guy who is the most villified in the sport other then Pete Rose is the only guy who has been telling the truth the whole time. I will always believe any guy that Canseco ever says took steroids, he hasn't been wrong yet. This is obviously a huge story and it sucks that he is a Yankee and its distracting but nothing you can do about it now. I don't believe anymore that any of them didn't take steroids, I will be shocked when they actually didn't do it not when it comes out that they did. This SI story although I have to believe it's true does seem a little suspicious. Why did only 1 out of 104 names get leaked and why is it 4 unnamed sources, I want to know who these sources are? What if it comes out that it was just any Joe Shmoe and it isn't true, then what?? I do think that one of the problems is Arods silence, he is off in the bahamas somewhere contemplating his next move, I guess when he does speak that will answer a lot of questions. I hope if it is true then just come out and answer everything now and hope it goes away. I am thinking this may help guys like CC,AJ Tex because the pressure is off of them and oh btw I do love the fact that no one is discussing Clueless Joes book anymore, serves him right. Scott Boras did say that Arod will be issuing a statement soon enough but what does that mean, spring training starts this week, he needs to do this before then. I think I have rambled enough and im sorry for that but I just had to get my thoughts out. If anyone has any opinions or reaction to this please respond in the comments and I will answer them and also remember my live chat coming up this Friday, im sure we will be talking about this a lot.
I am a diehard New York Yankees fan,season ticket holder and a sportsnut. I also like the New York Giants and Rangers. I am married with a beautiful babygirl. I am a caremanager for passaic county and graduated from William Paterson University in Wayne,NJ. I have always wanted to be a sportswriter and thought this blog would help me live my dream. I cover the Yankees/Mets Giants and Jets for www.worldnewsvine.com and also will be writing for numberonebaseball.com so check me out there, thanks.