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Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Laird’

If you missed the news this morning, Alex Rodriguez may miss up to a month. This comes from Joel Sherman, after reports that yesterday’s MRI showed a slight meniscus tear in his knee.

Personally, I would rather see A-Rod get the surgery now and be healthy for the final 6 weeks of the season. I know CC pitched through a similar injury last season. But the Yankees have internal options (Brandon Laird, Eduardo Nunez, and maybe Eric Chavez) that can tide them over for 4 or 5 weeks. Having Alex able to launch bombs during the stretch run is much better than a singles hitter in the clean-up spot going into the playoffs.

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Yesterday, I reviewed the Baby Bomber’s pitchers and catchers and evaluated their chances of making the opening day roster. Today it’s time for the infielders and outfielders. Unlike the wealth of talent behind the dish and on the rubber, there isn’t any outstanding talent in these spots, but there are some intriguing guys who might help out somewhere along the line.

Infielders – Let’s face it. As fans, we don’t want another season of Ramiro Pena’s average glove and Mario Mendoza bat. And while Kevin Russo seems like a nice kid, he wasn’t any better. Who might replace him?

Eduardo Nunez: If any of the young infielders in camp have a sincere chance of unseating Pena, this is the guy. He continues to hit decently, showing some line-drive power and decent speed. He isn’t the smoothest guy in the field, but he isn’t a liability, either. Besides, he is the guy who was supposed to replace Derek Jeter had Armageddon come to the Bronx this past winter.

Eduardo Nunez

Eduardo Nunez

Reegie Corona: Quite frankly, I don’t see much difference between Corona and Pena. Both of them get the bat knocked out of their hands by anyone who throws harder than 85mph. Both are competent, but not other-worldly, fielders. He looks targeted for AAA Scranton and will likely be first guy up should Jeter or Robbie Cano get injured.

Brandon Laird: The Yankees are sending the natural 3B to AAA Scranton to learn a “super-utility role” – 3B, 1B, RF, LF. It makes sense since both 1B and 3B are sewed up for the next few years. And I doubt the front office wants to keep bringing in retreads for reserve RH bench spots, when there may well be a better option in the high minors.

Jorge Vazquez: Look, when you’re 29 and never been on a major league roster, you might want to start thinking about taking the Crash Davis route. Vazquez possesses a slider speed bat but can’t hit breaking balls. He plays the corner spots, but is known in the minors as a defensive liability at third and barely adequate at first. He does have power and displayed it against other minor leaguers early in camp. He’s a classic “AAAA” player – too good for AAA, but will get eaten alive in MLB.

Outfielders – Fortunately, the Yanks don’t really need anything other than competent bench players here, because this is easily the most underwhelming part of the minor league system.

Justin Maxwell: Ok, so he isn’t exactly a rookie, with 122 major league appearances over three seasons. But the Nationals aren’t exactly a MLB club, either. He has a career ML slash line of .201/.319/.379 with a .698 OPS. What he brings to the table is decent speed, the ability to play all 3 OF positions adequately and the high expectations from his college career at Maryland. Hopefully, a full season at AAA (something he never got from Washington) will help him rediscover the form that made him a 1st round pick.

Colin Curtis: Yankee fans got a glimpse of Curtis last year, when he appeared in 31 games for the Bombers. He didn’t really impress, putting up a .538 OPS in 64 plate appearances. (Although he did hit a memorable homer against the Angels). The former Arizona State standout may have reached his limit. If so, that would be a shame because he certainly has a compelling back story.

Greg Golson: Yet another player that fans have seen in Pinstripes, the 25 year old Golson also saw MLB time while with the Phillies and Rangers. He has become a speedy defensive specialist, and his arm proved invaluable in a key game against the Rays last year. Still, he needs to do better than his career MiLB slash line of .263/.309/.398 if he wants to stick with the big club.

Melky Mesa

Melky Mesa: Another long shot, the 24 year old Mesa has played 5 seasons of MiLB and never reached AA. He does have speed and power but his strikeout percentage (.319) is higher than his on base percentage (.307), never a good sign. I hope he figures it out, since he is the prototypical 5 tool player. The Yanks are taking something of a chance, assigning him to AAA to start the season and skipping AA entirely.

Jordan Parraz: In 7 minor league seasons, the 26 year old former Astros and Royals farmhand has compiled a MiLB slash line of .289/.376/.438, which is decent. But he may be another case of the classic “AAAA” player, since he has yet to see the majors despite an ability to play all three OF spots and good peripherals in the minors.

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The One that Got Away

For those of you haven’t heard, Cliff Lee surprised just about everyone by deciding to sign with the Phillies. The move is an unqualified disaster for the Yankees and Brian Cashman, who had bet the farm (and the team’s immediate future) on signing the ace lefty. Combined with Boston’s wheeling and dealing, and Andy Pettitte’s possible (and likely) retirement, the Yanks may not be in serious contention for a playoff spot: Boston hasn’t only improved themselves, but so have the Tigers, Twins and White Sox. The Yankees look like they’re headed into the season with a two man rotation. (CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes),  a depleted bench and shaky bullpen. Ouch.

So, what to do now?

1. Trade for for a starter: use some of the Yankees minor-league depth to acquire a proven, front-end starter. Unfortunately, two best rumored to be available, Zack Greinke and Carlos Zambrano, are both head cases. Greinke is a former Cy Young winner. He’s rumored to want out of Kansas City. He’s young. He’s also had problems handling stress – and suddenly being cast as the “savior” of the 2011 season for the New York Yankees has a good chance of stopping his 2011 season before it starts. Not too mention that KC would want half of the Yankees farm sytem in return. Zambrano has top of the rotation stuff and the “Big Z” certainly has delivered both wins and quality starts in the past. But he’s also the poster child for petulance – and does anyone really think Larry Rothschild wants to be reunited with the Cubs ace?
2. Promote Ivan Nova and Hector Noesi: the last time the team slotted two rookies into the rotation was in 2008. Enough said on that idea. Although it may be the only option left.
3. Sign Carl Pavano: stopped laughing yet? Remember, this is the same front office that sent a popular outfielder and LH relief prospect to bring in a past failure who would eat innings, coming off a good season. That didn’t work out so well, but Cashman may well be considering the idea. After all, none of us thought he’d bring back Javier Vazquez, either.
4. Put Joba Chamberlain back in the rotation: no matter how much they say otherwise, this team loves jerking the kid around. He’s been everything from Mo’s heir to doghouse sitter so far. As much as they’ve been saying that Joba is in the pen for 2011, no doubt the brass has to be seriously reconsidering that idea at the moment.
5. Ride it out and wait for 2012: there are some big time prospects headed this way in 2012. Players like Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman, Austin Romine and Brandon Laird. It smacks of the late 80s Yankees, who kept buying stop-gap major leaguers while waiting for the farm to deliver. (Anyone remember how Roberto Kelly was going to save the franchise?)

6. Stockpile relievers, realizing that half of the team’s innings need to come from the ‘pen: great idea, except free-agent relievers rarely work out as intended. The only high-upside reliever left on the market is Rafael Soriano and it’s hard to see the Yankees singing another closer.

Then, there’s my personal favorite…

7. Bring in a player personnel guy. Cashman has proven astute on the business side of baseball and made the Steinbrenner family a ton of money, so its no wonder they love the guy. But his personnel moves leave a lot to be desired. Its simply insane that the team with the highest payroll has holes, and this one now needs a 4th and 5th starter, a set-up reliever, a 4th outfielder and utility infielder. When you look at the players he’s brought in versus who he’s let go, well… that’s a whole other post.

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A bit late on this, but Baseball America has released the New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects for 2011. And here it is:

1. Jesus Montero
2. Gary Sanchez
3. Dellin Betances
4. Manny Banuelos
5. Andrew Brackman
6. Austin Romine
7. Hector Noesi
8. Eduardo Nunez
9. Slade Heathcott
10. Brandon Laird

No real surprises on the list. Montero ranking #1 makes sense, considering he could very well be holding the starting catcher position out of Spring Training at the start of next season. As you can tell by the list, some prospects have made considerable improvements. Sanchez (#7 in ’10) and Brackman (#10 in ’10) have moved up the ranks. The thing that has to catch your eye is Dellin Betances ranking #3 on this list. It just shows how good of a year he’s had, considering he was left off the top 10 list all together in 2010.

With Zach McAllister and Arodys Vizcaino leaving the team, it opened up some new spots for other propsects. New additions to this year’s list include: Noesi, Nunez and Laird.   (more…)

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Graham Stoneburner/ Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio

2010 MiLB Season Statistics:

Scranton

Jesus Montero: .271AVG 11HR 47RBI .346OBP .460SLG .806OPS

Brandon Laird (TRN & SWB): .300AVG 25HR 94RBI 2SB .361OBP .547SLG .908OPS

Ivan Nova: 125.1IP (W-L, 10-2) 2.80ERA 39ER 94K .257BAA

Zach McAllister: 115.1IP (W-L, 7-8) 4.76ERA 61ER 71K .305BAA

Eric Wordekemper: (TRN & SWB) 53.0IP (W-L, 4-0) 3.23ERA 19ER 53K .237BAA

Trenton

Austin Romine: .272AVG 7HR 51RBI 1SB .340OBP .410SLG .751OPS

Andrew Brackman: (TAM & TRN) 103.0IP (W-L, 7-10) 4.81ERA 55ER 98K .275BAA

George Kontos: (TAM & TRN) 27.1IP (W-L, 0-2) 3.95ERA 12ER 19K .265BAA

Hector Noesi: (TAM & TRN) 120.0IP (W-L, 11-5) 3.00ERA 40ER 116K .225BAA

Ryan Pope: 41.1IP (W-L, 2-6) 4.25ERA 37ER 66K .256BAA

D.J. Mitchell: 114.2IP (W-L, 8-4) 4.32ERA 55ER 78K .265BAA

J. Brent Cox (TAM & TRN) 22.0IP (W-L, 1-1) 6.95ERA 17ER 11K .343BAA

Tampa

Zoilo Almonte: (CSC & TAM) .265AVG 11HR 48RBI 12SB .331OBP .429SLG .760OPS

Dellin Betances: 57.0IP (W-L, 6-1) 1.26ERA 8ER 15BB 68K .153BAA

Jonathan Ortiz: 45.0IP (W-L, 5-1) 18SV 2.60ERA 13ER 50K .196BAA

Adam Olbrychowski: 52.0IP (W-L, 2-2) 2.60ERA 15ER 41K .215BAA

Pat Venditte: 58.0IP (W-L, 2-0) 1.71ERA 5SV 11ER 71K .179BAA

Graham Stoneburner: (CSC & TAM) 109.1IP (W-L, 6-7) 2.47ERA 30ER 112K .192BAA

Charleston

Slade Heathcott: .270AVG 1HR 17RBI 10SB .364OBP .335SLG .700OPS

Brett Marshall: 44.0IP (W-L, 1-2) 4.09ERA 20ER 39K .244BAA

GCL

Gary Sanchez: .376AVG 4HR 26RBI 1SB .450OBP .612SLG 1.062OPS

Cito Culver: .276AVG 2HR 11RBI .336OBP .382SLG .718OPS

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I think one of the irrefutable facts from this Yankees season is that Alex Rodriguez is aging – painfully so for Yankees fans. It’s become obvious that the All-Star third baseman would perform at a higher level if he could get a day off every week. The skills are still there, but take it from somebody who crossed the age 35 threshold a while ago: the body just simply doesn’t recover at 35 the same way it did when you’re 25, or even 30. The little aches become more urgent, the bones creak a bit more, the tendons aren’t quite as flexible. As anyone who’s felt fatigued can attest, when the tired reaction time is lengthened. The mind may be willing, but the body just can’t respond the same way it does when you’re feeling fresh. Not such a big deal if you’re a desk jockey – but a millisecond makes a big difference when swinging at major league pitching. Fortunately for the Yanks, A-Rod is a gamer and will never use not feeling 100% for less than 125% results. Unfortunately for the Yanks, A-Rod is a gamer and will never use not feeling 100% for less than 125% results. It’s up to the manager to say, “it’s time for a blow.” 

Joe Girardi isn’t an idiot (although sometimes, his game decisions leave me wondering) and he surely realizes that A-Rod could use some time to rest. His problem with giving A-Rod rest is there is no substitute in the South Bronx for winning and Girardi doesn’t have anyone on his bench who even comes close to matching A-Rod’s production. The only infield reserve at the moment is Ramiro Pena, and the drop-off in production between he and A-Rod is ridiculous. Here’s how their seasons would look if each received the same number of plate appearances, over all 162 games this year: 

Player R H 2B 3B HR SO BB BA OBP SLG OPS+
A-Rod 83 164 42 3 26 112 68 .264 .335 .467 117
Pena 90 132 7 0 0 125 28 .204 .242 .215 27

In short, even in a down year, A-Rod’s production so far outstrips that of Pena’s that comparing the two isn’t really any comparison at all. More than that, Pena simply shouldn’t scare any pitcher in the majors, while A-Rod is always a threat. Replacing A-Rod in the line-up with Pena doesn’t just reduce the Yankees chances of winning; it virtually eliminates them.

A reserve infielder who at least carried a league-average bat was on Brian Cashman‘s wish list this trade season and he may still find one via the waiver wire. But then again, the Yankees may need to look no further than Scranton-Wilkes Barre to find a solution. Ladies and gentlemen, Brandon Laird may be wearing the big club’s pinstripes sooner than anyone thought at the beginning of the year. The 22 year old third baseman has posted a .300/.361/.547 slash line in 109 games this season, mostly with AA Trenton, with an impressive HR ratio of 16.7. In his first action at AAA, he has homered twice and is slugging an insane 1.750. 

At this point, I’d say he will definitely be part of the September call-ups. But if he keeps raking like this, it may not be far-fetched to see the Yankee’s bring him up before August 31st, making him eligible for the post-season roster. In any event, while all eyes have been focused on Jesus Montero and Austin Romine it may not be a bad idea to peek in on Laird’s progress over the next 2-3 weeks. 

 

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Here is a look at how some of the Yankees top prospects are doing thus far:

Scranton

Jesus Montero: .250AVG 6HR 32RBI .313OBP .414SLG .727OPS

Mark Melancon: 44.2IP (W-L, 5-1) 6SV 3.43ERA 17ER 51K .280BAA

Ivan Nova: 84.0IP (W-L, 5-2) 3.00ERA 28ER 64K .266BAA

Zach McAllister: 85.0IP (W-L, 6-5) 4.24ERA 40ER 52K .275BAA

Eric Wordekemper: (TRN & SWB) 41.2IP (W-L, 3-0) 2.38ERA 11ER 41K .244BAA

Trenton

Austin Romine: .290AVG 5HR 42RBI 1SB .370OBP .435SLG .806OPS

Brandon Laird: .293AVG 19HR 79RBI 2SB .348OBP .550SLG .899OPS

Andrew Brackman: (TAM & TRN) 70.0IP (W-L, 5-6) 5.01ERA 39ER 65K .276BAA

Hector Noesi: (TAM & TRN) 95.0IP (W-L, 10-3) 2.27ERA 24ER 101K .214BAA

Jeremy Bleich: 41.1IP (W-L, 3-2) 4.79ERA 22ER 26K .236BAA

Tampa

Zoilo Almonte: (CSC & TAM) .287AVG 10HR 38RBI 10SB .357OBP .478SLG .835OPS

Dellin Betances: 23.0IP (W-L, 2-0) 0.39ERA 1ER 3BB 27K .104BAA

George Kontos: 8.2IP (W-L, 0-1) 3.12ERA 3ER 7K .200BAA

Jonathan Ortiz: 30.0IP (W-L, 3-0) 14SV 2.40ERA 8ER 30K .194BAA

Adam Olbrychowski: 30.2IP (W-L, 2-1) 2.64ERA 9ER 23K .245BAA

Pat Venditte: 42.0IP (W-L, 0-0) 1.93ERA 2SV 9ER 51K .184BAA

Graham Stoneburner: (CSC & TAM) 81.0IP (W-L, 5-6) 2.00ERA 18ER 83K .170BAA

Charleston

Slade Heathcott: .267AVG 0HR 8RBI 6SB .350OBP .322SLG .672OPS

GCL

Gary Sanchez: .400AVG 3HR 11RBI .500OBP .800SLG 1.300OPS (Only 30AB’s)

Cito Culver: .300AVG 0HR 1RBI .333OBP .350SLG .683OPS (Only 20AB’s)

Brett Marshall: 8.0IP (W-L, 0-0) 2.25ERA 2ER 8K .194BAA

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It’s time to kick it in gear as the baseball season is around the corner now. These links should catch you up on everything:

Chien-Ming Wang is headed to the Washington Nationals this year, receiving a one year contract worth $2M with $3M in incentives.

The Yankees invited five more players to Spring Training yesterday. Those players are: Brandon Laird, Jorge Vazquez, D.J. Mitchell, Dustin Moseley and Ryan Pope. That brings them up to 25 non-roster players in their 2010 camp.

Dave Eiland has stated that the ‘Hughes Rules’ won’t be the same as the ‘Joba Rules’. Eiland says, “But you’ve got to remember, Joba had restrictions because he never had a full season in the professional Baseball as a Starter. Phil Hughes has had several minor league seasons as a Starter.” What does Phil think he’s going to throw this season? Hughes has also taken a guess himself about his innings limit saying, “Just a guess, I’d assume it’d be around 175-180 innings, but that’s pure speculation,” said Hughes

Curtis Granderson is keeping an open mind on playing left field. “People forget that I came up as a left fielder,” Granderson told Bryan Hoch. “In the Minor Leagues all the way up to Double-A, I didn’t start playing center field consistently until my second year in the Minors. Even when I came to the big leagues, I played a few games in left. I have no problem going back over there if that happens to be.”

A few days ago, we found out that the Yankees plan to be heavily involved in trying to get Cuban prospect Adeiny Hechevarria.

According to Anthony McCarron, Francisco Cervelli sat out a month of winter ball after getting hit in the head with a bat.

Brian Cashman confirmed that the Yankees offered Johnny Damon two deals (one for two-years and $14MM).

Last week the World Series trophy took a trip to West Point

Joba Chamberlain attended the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway this past Sunday at Daytona Beach, Florida.

[Snow-stadium1.jpg]

(Photo Courtesy of The LoHud Yankees Blog)

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Shelley Duncan signs with the Indians

Ken Rosenthal reports that Chien-Ming Wang’s latest check up was positive. He could throw off a mound in 6-8 weeks.

Wang keeps the door open to pinstriped return. “Sam Borden of the Journal News received word of a recent public appearance wherein Wang said “that there were no hard feelings on his side about being non-tendered.”

Now hear this: Marty Appel. “Appel spent some time with the Bookshelf discussing the work that went into Munson, as well as the behind-the-scenes process of putting together various publications for the Yankees, one of his responsibilities while with the team.”

Charlie Sheen is getting his Yankee tat removed. “The docs also show he’s in the process of having four of the tattoos removed, including an open zipper with an eyeball popping out, a Yankees tattoo, a Japanese  samurai and angel wings.”

A.J. Burnett turned 33 years-old yesterday. We wish him a belated Happy Birthday.

On December 28th, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Yankees don’t appear to be in on Jermaine Dye. He said that the Rangers, cubs, Giants, Braves and Angels were more likely suitors.

Laird brothers arrested in Phoenix. “Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird and his younger brother, Yankees infield prospect Brandon Laird, were arrested following a brawl in the lounge area of Phoenix’s NBA arena, according to police.”

Teen Ramirez wins MiLBY as top starter. “At 19, Ramirez finished eighth in the league in ERA and eighth in strikeouts with 53. What set him apart was the .159 batting average-against and the fact he walked just 16 over his 61 innings. He led all pitchers who qualified in BAA and his 7.23 base-runners/9 IP ratio was also the lowest on the Rookie-level circuit.”

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John Sickel of MinorLeagueBall recently listed the Yankees top 20 prospects going into 2010. I am going to include the list with his grades, but without his write ups and analysis. Click the previous link to see his write up of the players.

  1. Jesus Montero, C, Grade A
  2. Austin Romine, C, Grade B
  3. Manny Banuelos, LHP, Grade B
  4. Zach McAllister, RHP, Grade B
  5. Slade Heathcott, OF, Grade B
  6. Mark Melancon, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline C+
  7. Gary Sanchez, C, Grade C+
  8. John Murphy, C, Grade C+
  9. Kelvin De Leon, OF, Grade C+
  10. D.J. Mitchell, RHP, Grade C+
  11. Wilkin De La Rosa, LHP, Grade C+
  12. David Adams, 2B, Grade C+
  13. Corban Joseph, 2B-3B, Grade C+
  14. Adam Warren, RHP, Grade C+
  15. Neil Medchill, OF, Grade C+
  16. David Phelps, RHP, Grade C+
  17. Andrew Brackman, RHP, Grade C
  18. Jose Ramirez, RHP, Grade C
  19. Jeremy Bleich, LHP, Grade C
  20. Bryan Mitchell, RHP, Grade C

OTHERS (All Grade C): Sean Black, RHP; Gavin Brooks, LHP; Jairo Heredia, RHP; Jamie Hoffman, OF; Brandon Laird, 3B; DeAngelo Mack, OF; Melky Mesa, OF; Juan Miranda, 1B; Hector Noesi, RHP; Ivan Nova, RHP; Eduardo Nunez, SS; Kevin Russo, 2B; Romulo Sanchez, RHP; Graham Stoneburner, RHP; Brad Suttle, 3B; Pat Venditte, RHP-LHP; Kevin Whelan, RHP.

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Well, the end of the season for the Surprise Rafters has come and passed, so it is time to let you know how the Yankees of tomorrow have done.

Grant Duff (RHP) pitched 9.1 innings compiling an ERA of 2.89, 2 saves and an opposing batting average of .212

Mike Dunn (LHP) was 1-2 with a 4.35 ERA in 10.1 innings with 20 K’s and 10 walks.

Ian Kennedy (RHP) lead the league with 29.2 innings with an ERA of 4.25 and 28 K’s

Zack Kroenke (LHP) posted a 5.28 ERA in 15.1 innings over 10 games.

Brandon Laird (3B) batted .333 with 6 HRs, 24 RBIs and an OPS of over 1.000

Colin Curtis (LF) batted .397 with 5 HRs, 18 RBIs and an OPS of over 1.200.

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IanKennedy

While Major League Baseball’s season might have ended, there is still baseball being played. Here is an update on how some of the Yankees farmhands in the Arizona Fall League are doing.

Pitchers

Grant Duff (RHP) has logged a 3.68 ERA in 7.1 innings over 8 appearances with 2 saves while striking out 3 and walking 5.

Michael Dunn (LHP) in 7.2 innings over 7 appearances has logged a 2.35 ERA while striking out 13 and walking 6.

Ian Kennedy (RHP) has started 5 games in which he has pitched 20.1 innings with an ERA of 3.98 with 19 strikeout’s and 4 walk’s

Zach Kroenke (LHP) hasn’t been as lucky as his colleagues this fall. He has an ERA of 5.68 over 9 games and 12.2 innings with 10 K’s and 4 walks.

(more…)

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