Only one more week until the minor league season starts, which of course means the return of DotF. Until then I’ll just whet your appetite with some random notes from around the netweb.
- Via Chad Jennings and the Baby Bombers comes word that the Yanks have released a few minor leaguers, most notably RHP’s Guillermo Villalona-Bryan, Nick Peterson and Elvys Quezada. Bryan was High-A Tampa’s Opening Day starter last year, over the likes of IPK and George Kontos, while Peterson’s claim to fame is holding down Short Season Staten Island’s closer job in 2006 until Mark Melancon showed up. With Quezada now gone, only Eric Duncan, Tim Battle, Steven White, Mike Gardner and Jeff Karstens remain from the Yanks’ 2003 draft crop.
- Jennings also has some great quotes from Alan Horne, who’s dominated this spring while working primarily on his slider and changeup, easily his third and fourth pitches. He could be putting himself in position for a monster season.
- I’ve finally settled on this year’s “Watch” subject, but an assist goes out to longtime reader Greg G. That’s all you’ll get for now, this year’s Watch will be unveiled next Wednesday.
- TJ rehabbers JB Cox and Chris Garcia have been throwing in minor league games this spring; Cox has looked particularly impressive, although Garcia struck out the side in his first inning back. Humberto Sanchez won’t see game action until May because he’s recovering from a knee surgery he had last fall in addition to his TJ recovery. Cox, Garcia and Melancon will all start the year with Tampa to take advantage of the warm weather, and I suspect that’s where Sanchez will go once he’s ready. Cox will head to Scranton once it warms up, and Melancon could pitch his way to Double-A Trenton by June. Garcia should stay on Florida’s west coast all year.
- Things aren’t going so well for Kevin Whelan. He left the Arizona Fall League early because of a sore elbow, and now he’s likely to start the year on the DL because of a sore shoulder. Whelan’s got sick stuff and a considerable ceiling, and there’s no reason for the Yanks to rush him back with all the relievers they have at Triple-A.
- Mike Ashmore has been doing a great job of breaking down BA’s list of the Yanks’ top 30 prospects list. I don’t know how much does it, but I applaud Mike’s ability to keep his site updated so frequently with such in-depth content.
- Some quick draft notes: Pepperdine RHP Brett Hunter is going be out until at least mid-April with a dreaded forearm strain (a common precursor to TJ), which will certainly affect his draft stock. Hunter has touched triple-digits in the past, and was ranked the the second best college righthander in the draft (behind Aaron Crow) by BA. Keep an eye on his condition as the draft gets closer. Personal cheeseball Gerrit Cole continues to just dominate California prepsters; this kid is as good as it gets.
- Speaking of Crow, check out his last three starts here, here and here. I was dead wrong when I said he was over-rated a few weeks back, that’s first overall pick type stuff right there.
- Last bit of college talk, I promise. How’s this for some pitching: San Diego freshman Kyle Blair set the school record with 16 K against Hawaii Hilo, only to have ace Brian Matusz tie that record three games later. Number three start Josh Romanski then threw a no-no two days after that. Crazy.
- Have you checked out Saber-Scouting yet? It’s great new site that mixes the world of sabermetrics (boo) with traditional scouting (yay), and is written by guys that actually know what the hell they’re talking about. Check out their scouting report on uber-stud Kyle Gibson.
- Did you see NoMaas’ Dr. Phil graphic? Instant classic.
Last, but certainly not least, please consider pledging for The Big Three K’s Craniosynostosis if you haven’t already. It’s our good deed for the year, and it’s a worthy cause and takes almost no effort on your part. Thanks in advance.