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Posts Tagged ‘Colin Curtis’

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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As we prepare for tonight’s tilt with the Rays, there are numerous questions surrounding the Yankees. Will Andy Pettites groin be fully healed before the playoffs? Will Phil Hughesinnings limit result in him being ineffective? Who will be the fourth starter? Will the offense ever remember how to hit? Can Derek Jeter regain the form that made him a Yankee icon?

But the biggest question of all has to be this: Why is Joe Girardi still the manager?

Yes, I realize Girardi was the manager last year for #27. But many observers, myself included, felt the team won despite his managerial hijinx, not because of them. And the job he’s done this year – well, this current road trip pretty much sums up his season.

A manager’s job is two-fold: one, to put his players in the best position to do their job; and two, to motivate and inspire his squad to shine. Girardi consistently fails to do either. He insists on putting in line-ups where there are as many reserves as regulars. (How else do you explain bench players accounting for 21% of the teams plate appearances this season?). Quite frankly, I’m getting tired of seeing a bottom of the order consisting of Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli. (That particular duo has started together an incredible 15 times this season – better than 10% of the season). It’s nothing against either of those guys, but this is supposed to be the Yankees, not the Orioles. Or the Cubs.

Girardi over-relies on the bullpen; the Yankees only have 3 complete games as a staff – 11th best in the AL. Don’t forget; this is the same guy who was run out of the Marlins clubhouse largely because he burned his bullpen so badly in 2006, they fell out of contention. It makes you wonder if Alfredo Aceves‘ workload contributed to his (possibly career-threatening) injury.

He also rubbed that clubhouse the wrong way, as the players simply got tired of his act. I doubt we’ll ever hear anyone on this team complain about the skipper – they’re all too professional for it – but I defy anyone to tell me this team actually wants to win for Girardi. To be blunt, lately the Yankees look as though they would rather be taking a nap than playing baseball. That type of lethargy is direct reflection on Girardi’s leadership -or lack thereof.

Last night’s game – with the odd bullpen choices (Kerry Wood and Boone Logan combined to throw fewer pitches in 1 1/3 innings than Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre did in 2/3 of an inning), lackadaisical hitting, base running blunders – was a microcosm of the season thus far. Lost in all the noise about the bullpen maneuvering and Brett Gardner’s inexplicable attempted steal of third were two other moves that make absolutely no sense. In the 5th, Jorge Posada was caught stealing. On a straight steal. With two out. Later, in the 11th, after Austin Kearns led off with a sharp single, Girardi had Curtis Granderson bunt. If you have the heart of the order coming up, that makes sense. But not when the next hitter is Colin Curtis.

I’m sure the infamous binder had all kinds of percentages for each of the weird moves we saw. But games aren’t won in a computer model; they’re won by players on the field. Speaking of computer models, the Pythagorean prediction says the Yankees should be 89-55 or two games better than they’ve played. Why do you suppose that is?

Managers can rarely win a game. But when they insist on managing like the league idiot, they can certainly lose them. For that reason, Joe Must Go.

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From the LoHud Yankees Blog:

Nick Swisher has been scratched from the lineup with soreness in his achilles. Colin Curtis is taking his spot in right field. Brett Gardner has moved into the lead-off spot.

It doesn’t sound very serious, but with all the recent injuries on this team..it’s just not a good sign. Hopefully, he’ll be back in the lineup tomorrow.

Update: 6:38PM ET: From LoHud:

“I got up to go to the bathroom this morning and I was like, wait, something ain’t right,” he said.

The pain is in his left Achilles. Swisher took batting practice in the cage and said he believes he could pinch hit if necessary, but running is a problem. He’s been getting treatment most of the day and said it feels more loose than it did this morning.

“It’s not like it feels like anything is horrible,” Swisher said. “But anything in your achilles, that’s a scary thing to mess with. It’s a good day to just chill and get as much treatment as I can. Come back here tomorrow and get back after it.”

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Anyone who watched any of this week’s Yankees games are probably wondering the same thing: who stole the major league umpires and replaced them with these clowns?

In every single game, the umpires blew at least one call. By my count, they cost Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira
and Jorge Posada base hits. They also cost the Royals a run last night. They cost Brett Gardner an at-bat for reasons unknown (although Colin Curtis turned that into his first ML home run). They tossed Joe Girardi from a game and nobody has yet to tell him why.

I wish I could rail against some sort of vast umpiring conspiracy against the Yankees. I wish that Joe West’s comments at the beginning of the season pointed to a bias against the Yankees. Sadly, I cannot. This season, umpires have cost Armando Gallaraga a perfect game (and no-hitter) with two outs in the 9th inning. Turn on SportsCenter and nightly, some umpire somewhere is blowing a call that directly affects the outcome of a game. What we are watching is the one thing that will kill baseball as a top-tier sport in this country faster than PED’s or Tim McCarver. Bad umpiring used to be a rare occurrence – rare enough that a bad call led every sportscast in America. Now, bad umpiring has become the norm. Fans can be excused if they wait with baited breath for the next horrible call.

Fortunately, I don’t think this problem is unsolvable. Here are five pretty simple things that Commissioner Bud Selig can do to restore some sense of normalcy to the grand game:

  1. Revert back to having AL & NL umpires. With that system, the umpires got to know the teams, players and managers much better than with the current system of rotating crews around the majors.
  2. I understand that MLB grades the umpires every year. Why not make those grades public? Fans have more stats available than Roosevelt has dimes to know how a player performs; it seems only fair that we know which umpires have fair strike zones, which ones blow calls most often and so forth. Besides, knowing that their performance will be publicly available sounds like a great incentive to get the umpires to concentrate a bit harder on the field.
  3. Suspend umpires during the season for some of the ridiculous calls they make. If a player or manager can be suspended for conduct unbecoming, no reason an umpire cannot.
  4. Demand the umpires get in shape. Baseball is the only major sport that allows its game officials to be so…corpulent. This isn’t a case of “fat discrimination” but one of simply asking the umpires to be mobile enough to keep up with the speed of the game.
  5. Have more intense spring training for the umpires. I cringe every time I see an umpire in the absolutely wrong position to make a call. Just as the players work on getting themselves in correct position for cut-off throws and pitchers run PFP drills during spring training, I think having a spring complex where umpires work on getting on in position for throws to every base from every angle is appropriate.

The really neat thing is, the commissioner’s “best interests of baseball” authority means he can do all of this outside of the CBA. (Maybe not #5; but certainly the rest). What do you think? Is it time for MLB to do something about the umpiring?

Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@rrothfeldt) and friend me on Facebook.

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Yesterday marked a memorable occasion for our beloved Yankees. In the 7th inning, both Juan Miranda and Colin Curtis took Angels reliever Scott Shields deep. How rare was it? It’s the first time since 1929 that two Yankee rookies went yard in the same inning. (Those two players? Bill Dickey and Sammy Byrd. Dickey went on to have a Hall of Fame career. Byrd became famous for ending his career by crashing into an outfield wall in the first ever night game.)

The Yankees expect Miranda to pop a few long balls; it is the principle reason he is with the major league squad. But for those who missed it, Curtis’ shot was a direct-from-Hollywood-screenplay type of home run. The only reason Curtis was in the game at all was due to the horrible umpiring: home plate ump Bill Emmerich tossed Brett Gardner, ostensibly for arguing balls and strikes. The only thing was, the count when Gardner was ejected was 0-2. So, not only was Curtis facing a veteran, former all-star pitcher with a 95+mph fastball; he inherited a no-ball, two-strike count. Just to make things more unlikely, Curtis had not gone yard since Spring Training. But like any Hollywood “B” script writer will tell you, the most unlikely scenario is exactly how it needs to play out for the hero and when Curtis’ laser cleared the right-field wall, it was…well, it was just the latest chapter in the Yankees best feel-good story in a long time.

Colin Curtis really deserves one of those “B” movies to be made about his life. When you really stop to think about it, his story is one of those that seem to come straight from a fairy-tale. It is one of those stories that when you tell your grandchildren about it, they’ll swear you’ve been spiking your prune juice – because it is just THAT unbelievable. To put it simply, Curtis stat line says he should be dead, not hitting improbable home runs at Yankee Stadium.

Curtis was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000, at the age of 15. By the time treatment began, it had spread to the blood vessels and lymph nodes throughout his abdomen, making it a stage III cancer, the most advanced form. The five-year survival rate for that type of advanced stage cancer is only 48%. Curtis beat the cancer, returning in time to rejoin his high school sophomore team. He not only rejoined, he played well enough to earn a scholarship to Arizona State, where he wound up hitting .324. After his college career, Colin was selected in the fourth round (134th overall) by the Yankees in the 2006 amateur draft. He then made it to the major league spring training camp as a non-roster invitee this year; where he opened some eyes by hitting a walk-off home run in the Yankees first spring training game. And now he is on the major league roster, having appeared in 14 games so far and hitting what may be the Yankees most improbable home run of the season.

Quite frankly, this kid has beaten the odds at every level. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to want Colin Curtis to succeed. But if you’re a Yankees fan and don’t get a bit of a chill down your spine the next time Colin Curtis is announced, then perhaps you need a transfusion of humanity.

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From Ledger_Yankees:

More cuts: Romine, Montero, Curtis, Gorecki.

(Photo Courtesy of Dave Soberman, RAB)

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…Spring Training! What did you think I was going to say, Christmas? Pfft, that day is just a mere speed bump in baseball fan’s lives known as ‘Off season’. Either way, the Yankees released their non-roster invitee list and it looks something like this:

OF Marcus Thames, LHP Wilkins Arias, LHP Jeremy Bleich, OF Colin Curtis, RHP Grant Duff, OF Reid Gorecki, C Kyle Higashioka, RHP Jason Hirsh, LHP Kei Igawa, RHP Zach McAllister, C Jesus Montero, C PJ Pilittere, LHP Royce Ring, C Mike Rivera, C Austin Romine, RHP Amaury Sanit, RHP Zack Segovia, OF Jon Weber, RHP Kevin Whelan and OF David Winfree.

Tell me, are you as excited to see Kei Igawa pitch to Marcus Thames in intersquad games? You’re not? Then you must not be a true Yankees fan then. I kid, regardless, 9 days until Spring Training.

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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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