The TJ Rehab Watch

Game 2: Counting on Mussina
Keeping the stadium intact until the end

One of our more popular features in the early days of RAB was the Hughes Watch, which will be forever immortalized on the left sidebar of the now defunct IGWT. After Hughes graduated to the bigs we debuted the wildly popular Joba Watch, which chronicled the right-hander’s voyage from A-ball to our hearts in five short months. With Joba now firmly entrenched in the Bronx, it’s time to move on to the next Watch subject, although there’s no obvious candidate.

Ideally, the Watch would cover a guy who will spend most of the year in the minors, but will also make his big league debut at some point. Guys like Alan Horne, Jeff Marquez, Juan Miranda, Brett Gardner and Scott Patterson fit the bill, but none of them really seemed Watch worthy to me. Austin Jackson, Jose Tabata, Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances are really talented, but too far away. Then along came an email from longtime reader Greg G., suggesting that the new Watch should follow JB Cox, Mark Melancon, Humberto Sanchez and Chris Garcia on the road to recovery from Tommy John surgery. He hit the nail on the head.

Not only is their recovery from TJ the biggest story of the minor league year, it also fits the ideal Watch mold. Sanchez and Cox should be knocking on the door by July, and Melancon has a chance to join them come September. Chris Garcia is a ways off, but he’ll add that wow factor if he manages to stay healthy. So with that, the TJ Rehab Watch is born. Four Watches for the price of one, everyone wins.

So here’s how it’s going to work: Just like last year the top table will contain the stats for the last game pitched, reagrdless of who was on the mound, and the bottom table will contained combined stats for all four guys. If more than one guy throws on a given night, I’ll add another “last game” table accordingly. I didn’t want to do a separate table for each guy, or one table for each guy and one combined table, or some sort of wacky business like that because a) HTML tables are the fugliest thing imaginable, and b) it would take up too much real estate. The whole point of the Watch is simplicity, a quick and easy way to track the progress of your favorite (okay, my favorite) prospects. Adding more tables ruins the vibe.

I decided on using a pic of Melancon for a few reasons: It was the best action shot of one of the four guys in a Yankee uni I could find, fans generally seem to love the guy (and with good reason), and also because Robert of Baby Bombers was kind enough to supply it. I considered Photoshopping a little montage off all four guys, but again, it’s all about simplicity. The pic can always be changed, in fact we went through quite a few last year on the Joba Watch.

The minor league season kicks off in full force tomorrow, as every team in every full season league, except the High-A California League, takes to the field (the Cal League season starts on Friday). I find it mildly hilarious that two pitchers on completely opposite ends of the talent spectrum – Rick Porcello and Kei Igawa – grace’s Opening Day graphic. Talk about odd combinations.

Triple-A Scranton looks to end it’s eight-game Opening Day losing streak against Lehigh Valley, the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. The Kei-man will take the hill for SWB, so yeah, good luck with ending that losing streak. Double-A Trenton starts the year off against the Binghamton Mets, while Low-A Charleston will look to conquer the Rome Braves. The highlight of Opening Day is the aforementioned Mr. Porcello making his pro debut against the High-A Tampa Yanks. Couldn’t ask for a better way to kick off the year.

Game 2: Counting on Mussina
Keeping the stadium intact until the end
  • jscape2000

    Nice decision, though I’d rather not see the combined stats than see them combined- it doesn’t really give me quick feel for how they’re progressing. Maybe just a quick hit on when each appeared last and number of appearances would do better?

  • Dillon

    You definitely got the right group to watch this year. JB Cox, Mark Melancon, Humberto Sanchez and Chris Garcia have a ton of talent. I realize this is a TJ list, but why not add a top 10/15 list of Yankee pitching prospects as well? It would be great to be able to see the stats of Betances, Nova, Vizcaino, Horne, Heredia, McCutchen, Kontos, Pope, Whelan, Robertson, etc.

  • brockdc

    Thanks, Mike. Great concept.

  • Jamal G.

    This is great, perfect idea. Thanks Mike & Greg.

    Semi-off topic, why the hell is Carmen Angelini listed as a 1B on the Charleston roster on

    *I would post link but it’s a bit long.

  • felixpanther

    should include Andruw Brackman in TJS watch

  • Steve

    Great idea, and please add Andrew Brackman to the list.

  • Manimal

    HTML tables are a Bitch to do I agree.

    We should have a batter to(AKA Gardner)

  • Edwantsacracker

    I miss the graphs that you used to post every game. Probability to win with each at bat. Those were cool.

  • Tripp

    Brackman wouldn’t contribute anything. He’s not supposed to throw in a game until next spring I thought?

  • CaptainCargo

    It’ll be a good thing to have here. Good idea and thanks.

    As an aside: I wouldn’t want Brackman because the guy ain’t gonna throw one single inning this season.

  • Jersey

    Terrific idea fellas. Props to Greg G. for thinking of it and RAB for running with it. Another reason why RAB has become a favorite.

  • Curramba

    I though Sanchez and Cox were both behind Melacon on their way back from TJ. Melancon had his October 06 while both Sanchez and Cox had theirs spring 07, in addition Sanchez had a second surgery in the summer. If anything we may see Melancon first.

  • AndrewYF

    Can we add a “Rick Porcello” watch too?

  • Miles Roche

    No, Curramba, you’re wrong.
    Cox might have undergone the surgery after Melancon, but the latter barely has any professional innings under his belt. He appeared briefly for SI in late September of ’06 for a couple of games and then underwent surgery. Cox, on the other hand, has already pitched in AA Trenton with great success.
    So you should see Cox in the majors before Melancon. (Same holds true for Sanchez, although he has yet to start throwing off a mound…)

  • notayanksfan,im from the bronx

    sanchez threw bullpen on tuesday and everything went good….

  • Greg G.

    Hey, guys (especially Mike A.)…thanks for the props.

    I really hope that at least one or two of these guys have a similar impact on this team that the Big Three had on the team last year (that is, an overwhelmingly positive one). My personal faves are Melancon and Sanchez.

  • stefan

    I think this idea is great. I can see the combined stats getting confusing after a while, but I’m not going to knock it until we’ve seen it.

  • Curramba

    The fact that Melacon has already pitched in games makes a big difference even if he doesn’t have much proff experience. He’s ahead of schedule and has already built up his arm strength where Sanchez in particular is still working on building the arm strength and won’t be ready for game until later in the season.

    • dan

      Except that Melancon needs to master single A hitters, then master AA hitters, then master AAA hitters. Sanchez already pitched well against AAA hitters, so all he needs to do is adjust physically. Regardless of where they are in their rehabs, it will take Melancon time to adjust to better hitters whereas it won’t be much, if any, adjustment for Sanchez since he’s already been there.

      • Greg G.

        My understanding was that Melancon was only going to be in Tampa until the weather warmed up, and then he was going to one of the higher levels. Of course, if he completely tanks, I assume that would change.

  • Pingback: River Ave. Blues | The other Opening Day

  • Curramba

    How long did it take Steet to adjust to hitters when he start prof baseball out of college?

  • tonton

    Why don’t you propose that the Yankees should trade igawa for Snyder or Lopez of the RS when igawa has a trade value? if we get out igawa who is only a garbage of 3A, we can get a pitcher of the MLB though he is old, inconsistent and mediocre. Doesn’t it sound good?

    If you are a Yankees-player hater as usual, you should propose that.

  • tonton

    The comment above is a mistake (doubled).