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Posts Tagged ‘Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees’

Are we talking a matter of days here? A couple of weeks? A September call-up?

“According to sources close to organization, Trenton catcher Austin Romine, then Dellin Betances, will be next to board the SWB shuttle, with top overall prospect Jesus Montero expected to join the Yankees’ lineup in the very near future.

The summer fo 2011 marks the first time since 1999 the Yankees have not made a July trade, and Cashman told reporters in New York today that he was never close to a deal with anyone, including the Colorado Rockies for Ubaldo Jimenez.”

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The big question so far this season is: What’s wrong with Phil Hughes? After his third poor outing last night, the Yankees have placed Hughes on the disabled list with what the Yankees are calling a “dead arm.” It’s not the first time we’ve heard of this. Just last year, that’s what they claimed Javier Vazquez had. Bartolo Colon will take Hughes’ spot in the rotation, and RHP Lance Pendleton takes his place on the roster. It was originally reported that Phil would be sent down to Triple-A Scranton, but those reports were false. Let’s hope Phil can figure out whatever it is that’s wrong with him.

Update: 5:33PM ET: New York Post reporter, Brian Costello just tweeted: “Sorry for the wrong info on Hughes. My source got it mixed up. My apologies……Sounds like Hughes may have talked his way out of a trip to the minors”

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With Lou Piniella’s retirement from baseball this past Sunday, the Chicago Cubs have an opening at manager for the 2011 season. They’re rumored to favor hiring Joe Girardi as the new man for the north side of Chicago. While I think Girardi would be crazy to want that job over a return to the Yankees, I strongly suspect he will. After all, Joe grew up in Chicagoland, went to Northwestern and had two stints as a player with the Cubbies. He knows he’d be venerated for generations if he happened to guide them to their first World Championship in over 100 years.

So, let’s play the game and assume that Girardi is gone after this season. Who should be the next manager for the Yankees? There’s an intriguing list of possibilities. Here are five to ponder:

  1. Willie Randolph: Randolph certainly has a Yankee pedigree. The former captain also served as base coach and bench coach under Joe Torre. All told, Willie owns 6 World Series rings – more than anyone alive, except Yogi Berra. He certainly understands what it takes to win in New York and he understands the type of scrutiny a Yankees manager is under. But he did preside over one of the greatest collapses in major league history (ok, it was the Mets) and hasn’t landed a ML managing job since. Still, he is my number one choice to run the club next year.
  2. Don Mattingly: “Donnie Baseball” has much the same pedigree as Randolph, although not quite as many championship rings. Few players are more beloved in the Bronx, despite the fact that Mattingly’s teams in the 80’s never quite made it to the playoffs. But he’s never managed – at any level – and he might still be bitter after getting yanked around by the Yankee brass before they settled on Girardi.
  3. Joe Torre: I think I just heard a collective gasp go up in the crowd. If George were still running the show, this might be more of a possibility. (Heck, we might be talking about Joe III or Joe IV by this point). There can’t be much doubt that Torre knows how to do the job and I doubt the payday he’ll command this off-season would deter the Yanks. At the same time, bringing him back would be tantamount to the front office admitting they made a mistake in letting him go 3 years ago. And Torre still harbors A LOT of dislike for Brian Cashman.
  4. Dave Miley: Miley is the manager at AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre (I know you were wondering). Although he seems like a long shot – Buck Showalter was the last MiLB manager the Yankees hired, 20 years ago – with the impending youth movement in the Bronx, he might be a good fit. Next year’s roster is likely to have a slew of “Baby Bombers”, perhaps as many as 7 or 8 players with less than 3 years of major league experience. And he has demonstrated the ability to win in the minors, despite constant roster uncertainty, with a career 1991 – 1092 record at AAA. Miley also has three seasons of ML experience, with a really atrocious Reds team in the early 2000’s.
  5. Bobby Valentine: Valentine brings two things the Yankees traditionally crave in a manager – name recognition and a proven ability to win. You also have to think Valentine’s ego would love a shot at managing the Yankees. The biggest obstacle I see to making this work is that ego: Valentine is a control freak. I don’t see Cashman or anyone else in the front office ceding any control over player decisions to him.

Well, there are five names to mull over. There are no shortage of managerial candidates this offseason and I’m sure we’ll hear plenty more before next April. Who do you think should be at the helm next season – Girardi, one of the 5 mentioned here, or someone else?

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As we get ready for tonight’s tilt with the Blue Jays, a few thoughts from last night’s game:

  • If Ivan Nova was brought up with the idea of resting the pitching staff, it seems somebody forgot to tell Joe Girardi. Nova only pitched 5 1/3 innings, throwing 73 pitches. After a rough 1st inning, he settled in nicely. Other than a poorly located pitch to Jose Bautista, he didn’t give the Jays anything. I’m still scratching my head over Girardi’s decision to yank Nova in the 6th and use 3 relievers last night, particularly with Dustin Moseley (averaging 5 2/3 innings per start) and Phil Hughes (he of the innings limit) coming up next. Assuming Nova maintained his 14 pitch/inning rate (not improbable), he wouldn’t have hit 100 pitches until the 9th inning. Strange, but I’m sure Girardi had his reasons.
  • What was with that line-up? I understand Derek Jeter needed a night off. But by putting Jorge Posada in the DH role, that left the bottom of the Yankees line-up looking more like the bottom of the line-up for Scranton-Wilkes Barre. A better option would have been to start Posada behind the plate and pencil in Austin Kearns (who’s been hitting pretty well, btw) into the DH role. I also would have batted Curtis Granderson 2nd and Nick Swisher 6th, since Swish is a far better run producer than Granderson. That would have left the Yankees with

Gardner LF; Granderson CF; Teixeira 1B; Cano 2B; Posada C; Swisher RF; Kearns DH; Pena 3B; Nunez  SS

Then, tonight you could have DH’d Posada and an 8-9 of Francisco Cervelli and Pena. As it was, the Yankees got exactly the kind offense you could expect from the line-up Girardi put out there.

  • Speaking of Bautista, two questions come to mind: First, why are the Yankees still throwing him fastballs? Second, is anyone else just a little suspicious that Bautista has nearly tripled his career high for home-runs while playing in the same town that Anthony Galea calls home?
  • Finally, I can’t wait to see what the umpires have in store for us tonight. MLB sent what might be the worst umpiring crew I’ve seen all season to work this series – and that’s really saying something. The HP ump couldn’t find the strike zone, leaving both teams hollering at him. The first base ump blew a call that obviously cost the Yankees a run. You also have to wonder if that call might have caused just a moment’s loss of concentration for Nova, since it was the following AB that Bautista did his best Barry Bonds act.

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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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As you guys already know, Andy Pettitte will be out for about 4-5 weeks with a Grade 1 strain in his left groin. Sergio Mitre will replace Pettitte in the rotation for the time being, and will start on Saturday. When Andy gets placed on the disabled list today, Jonathan Albaladejo will be activated. His numbers with Triple-A Scranton: (W-L, 2-1) 0.96 ERA 31 SV.

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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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Curtis Granderson is making his return to the Yankees lineup tonight, after being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin on May 2nd. Granderson was hitting .225, with 2HR’s and 7RBI’s before being placed on the DL.

While rehabbing in Scranton, Curtis posted these numbers: 5G 16AB 4H 0HR 2RBI 2BB .333OBP .250SLG .583OPS. He’ll be providing more pop and speed to this lineup, and I think I can speak for all Yankees fans and say that we’re glad to have him back.

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Kevin Russo just got the call up to the big league club due to the injury to Robinson Cano. Girardi’s lineup choices are getting short, and Russo will be one of his reinforcements while Cano is out. Russo was hitting .302, with 1HR and 11RBI down in Triple-A Scranton.

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Here are some newsworthy information for you guys:

Yanks’ still are interested in bringing Damon back to play LF? “NYBD contributor Frank Russo reached out to his Yankees contacts and was told that there is a “small opening” for Damon to return.”

Out on Chapman “WEDNESDAY, 3:55pm: At least three teams are out on Chapman: the Astros, Yankees, and Mets (ESPN’s Buster Olney via Twitter, and MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart).”

A few notes from Cashman “The Yankees remain in the market for an outfielder, but not a starting outfielder. Cashman said he is not looking for bullpen help. Cashman said the team has agreed to several minor league contracts, but the Yankees are not yet ready to announce them.”

Entire SWB coaching staff to return “All six members of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre coaching staff from the 2009 season will return in 2010, and obviously, that’s highlighted by the return of manager Dave Miley.”

Hudson theater stages regional premiere of ‘Yogi’ “Actors’ Summit, Hudson’s professional theater, begins the new year with the regional premiere of “Nobody Don’t Like Yogi” by Tom Lysaght.”

Mindy McCready, ex-Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens’ former flame, to air her dirty laundry on VH1 “McCready, whose long-term romance with former Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens was exposed in the Daily News in April 2008, is one of nine cast members in the third season of VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” which airs Thursday (VH1, 10 p.m.).”

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