Some minors updates

The lenses of a heart-breaking loss
Yanks, MLB set to capitalize on All Star Game

This is usually Mike’s department, but I don’t see him online at the moment, so I’m going to wrap up this piece by the indispensable Chad Jennings. While his job is to cover the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees, he does a stupendous job of talking to guys like Nardi Contreras and Mark Newman, providing updates from the entire Yankees farm system. While you can find the full list of updates at his site, here’s the abridged version.

Humberto Sanchez is on the road back, but he’s not at 45 pitches yet. Jennings explains that this is the number of pitches they want a starter to toss from a mound before getting him into a game. This suggests that at least for the time being, the Yankees will use him as a starter. We’ll see, though.

For those Chris Garcia nuts out there (I’m looking right at you, Jamal), he’s pitching today. I’m not sure where he’s pitching today, but it will be four innings or 55 pitches, whichever comes first. We’ll see if we can get the results if this start happens to be in extended spring training.

Nardi seems to be very happy about Zach McAllister, J.B. Cox, and Mark Melancon. And really, how couldn’t he be? These guys are pitching very, very well.

Finally, no one knows what’s up with Sean Henn. Could it be possible that no team claims him off waivers? It seems to me a team like the Giants could afford the roster spot. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

The lenses of a heart-breaking loss
Yanks, MLB set to capitalize on All Star Game
  • Bruno

    Admittedly it’s too early for this: but say Hughes comes back from the DL, new eyes and all, and either continues to struggle or, forbid, gets hurt again: any chance he becomes the 8th inn guy to replace Joba? I would rather have him be a serviceable #3, but if he can’t handle the rotation, isn’t that exactly what the ‘pen is for? Not to compare them, but if Hughes turned out to be Izzy/Papelbon AFTER failing as a starter, I honestly don’t think Yankee fan’s would complain. It’s not a bad worst-case-scenario.

    • Adam

      regardless of what hughes does the rest of this year, it would be way too early to call him a failure and move him to the pen long term. this would exactly the type of panicky decision that hurts franchises in the long run.

      • Bruno

        I was thinking more along the lines of next year, saying he bombs this year and beginning of next.

        • Jamal G.

          Edison Volquez is in his 4th year as a Major League pitcher. In the previous three seasons he split time between the Majors and Minors.

          Numbers from three Major League seasons prior to 2008 (2005-2007):
          7.20 ERA; 55:42 K:BB; 12.49 H9; 1.58 HR9; 4.73 BB9; 1.91 WHIP; 80.0 IP. He also had *ERA+ of 33 (2005), 63 (2006) and 100 (2007).

          Numbers from 2008 Major League season:
          1.27 ERA; 42:18 K:BB; 6.11 H9; 0.8 HR9; 4.58 BB9; 1.19 WHIP; 35.3 IP. His *ERA+ in this admitted small sample size is a robust 345.

          Give guys time, two seasons is not enough time to make a determination on a young starter. He needs about 4 seasons to fully develop into what he could become.

        • Glen L

          next year will only be his age 22 season .. it will be far too early, in my opinion, to give up on him as a starter (assuming he doesn’t pitch well … which I do not believe will be the case)

  • Tripp

    What? No happiness about Dan McCuthen?

    • Jamal G.

      On Chase Wright and Dan McCutchen
      I asked if it was possible that one of those two could be with the Triple-A team some time soon. Contreras didn’t answer. He instead smiled and said he’s going to Trenton tomorrow. Don’t know exactly what that means. Might mean something, might mean nothing. Guess we’ll find out in the next few days.

      I don’t know man, I took it as someone Daniel McCutchen is getting promoted to Triple-A Scranton to take Kei Igawa’s spot in the rotation. I know I have no evidence, but I feel he is the best candidate in the organization right now to take over Igawa’s spot at Triple-A.

      • Brandon

        me too, there is no way Nardi is going to AA just to say hi, he’s most likely going to tell McCutchen what to do in his nextstart or about his imminent promotion.

  • TurnTwo

    perhaps this is a stupid question, but who is Nardi Contreras? I mean, i know he’s basically the minor league pitching guru, helps develop the pitching, etc…

    but where did he come from? what was his playing experience, or did he even play/pitch? why/how/when did he come to hold the power and prowess he does in the organization now?

    • Jamal G.

      Nardi Contreras was a 12th Round pick in the 1969 MLB draft by the Cincinnati Reds as a RHP. He made his Major League debut on May 23, 1980 with the Chicago White Sox. Over 8 appearances that season as a reliever, he pitched 13.2 innings and that was the only season he played in the Major Leagues. He pitched 1,166 innings in 13 Minor League seasons over the course of 290 games and to the tune of a 69-72 record with a 3.84 ERA. He played in the Minor Leagues with four MLB organizations in the Reds, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and White Sox.

      Couldn’t find any free Q&As or biographies period on Mr. Contreras that would give some insight on his abilities as a pitching guru.

    • Mike A.

      He was the pitching coach for the ChiSox at some point.

  • yanks99

    this may be a stupid question as well, but how close is Humberto Sanchez to the majors, presuming he rehabs fine and all….

    • Joseph P.

      I wouldn’t expect to see him up before September. He’s close to major league ready, but it’s going to take a while to get back into pitching shape after the injuries.

    • Mike A.

      Well, he wasn’t exactly a finished product before TJ. Threw hard yes, but his changeup was inconsistent and his control kinda sucked. He’s on the 40-man, so there’s no reason not to call him up in Sept. just so he can soak it all in, even if he just sits on the bench.

      I’d prefer to see him at least start 2009 in Triple-A.

  • Jamal G.

    On Chris Garcia
    Let’s just run one big quote here: “He’ll pitch tomorrow, 55 pitches. Innings, it doesn’t matter. He won’t go more than four because he’s only gone two, so we’ll only bring him up by two. Even if he has pitches left, he’ll throw those in the bullpen.”

    I have no qualms admitting I screamed look a teenage girl at the sight of Anthony (Aventura lead singer) when I read this part.

    • George

      Jamal, I like you am hoping that Chris Garcia is able to pull it together before the end of the Minor League Season. If I am not mistaken, after this year he would ahve been with the organization for four years. If he doesn’t show any progress and or the organization losses faith in him, he may released next year.

      I always thought that he could become one of those pitchers that put it all together as they physically matured. Lets hope he finds it. Lets hope that the Yankees see something good there.

    • Count Zero

      OK Jamal — you are now officially President of the Chris Garcia fan club. ;-)

      • Brandon

        who wouldn’t his stuff alone is dominating when it’s at 100 %, he has an AJ Burnett/Josh Beckett type ceiling. This year is a big year for Christian, in ST he hit 91 mph in a Scranton tune up to have his stuff there so early is a great sign. He was ready to be on fast pace this year until around Aug 07′ he had a spike catch dirt during his running drills, Nardi loved his work ethic for the first time in awhile, this kid has the “it” factor when motivated, and he is plenty motivated right now.

      • Jamal G.

        Yes, yes I am. You ask anybody who’s knowledgeable about the Yankees’ farm system, who has the best stuff in the organization and I will GUARANTEE you that you will hear one of these three names:

        1. Joba Chamberlain
        2. Andrew Brackman
        3. Christian Garcia

        Obviously I’ve proven myself to be one that does not let go easily (defense of Jason Giambi this year, Mike Mussina last year, Eric Duncan and Garcia), but if you ask me out of these four cases, which I have more faith in to bounce back, I would say Christian Garcia.

        • George

          Sorry to belabor this, but from the old “Fire Joe Torre Blog site, I found this:

          Ceiling: The common saying is that Garcia has the highest ceiling of any Yankee pitching prospect, even more than Phil Hughes. I don’t disagree that he has a high ceiling, but I rate both Betances and Hughes higher, which is not a knock on Garcia. His stuff is certainly good enough to win a few Cy Youngs somewhere down the line. “A” Circa Nov.16 2006.

          Hi praise for such a young man with plenty of potential and dreams. I can see the bright future of the Yankees organization that embraces Betances, Hughes, Joba, IPK, Brackmann, Heradia, McAllister, Melancon etc… And I/we know that Garcia’s name can very well be included with a positive 08 season

          • Brandon

            no way, I wouldn’t rate Betances over Garcia, Garcia’s delivery is what Betances is learning in A ball. Betances walk totals are too excessive right now to even notion he is on par w/ Garcia when healthy.

        • Mike A.

          Garcia’s stuff is filthy, very AJ Burnett-esque. Easy mid-90’s velocity, easy knockout curveball, everything comes very naturally for him.

          Pure stuff is the best in the system in my opinion, but Brackman isn’t far behind.

          • Brandon

            I’d put Brackman infront of him, he was neck and neck w/ David Price in college

          • daneptizl

            Are you including Joba?

            • Brandon


            • Mike A.

              No, but he’d be in the mix for sure. Garcia, Brackman and Joba clearly have the best pure stuff in the system, the trio is well ahead of the pack.

              You could claim any of those three guys have the best stuff in the organization and no one would question you.

              • Brandon

                Brackman can hit 101 on the gun, he sits high 90’s, has a knuckle curve and his spike curveball is nasty w/ a good change up, add the fact he is 6’10, it’s an uncomfortable AB for anyone. He just has to reacquaint himself w/ his mechanics.

  • Miles Roche

    From what Patrick Teale – over at Pinstripes Plus – posted today, it seems like the start would come at Extended Spring Training…

  • Jamal G.

    You know what I find so humorous, it’s that for all the advancements people have made over the years in baseball analysis when it comes to statistics and technological advances like Gameday, we still refer to a pitcher’s repertoire simply as “stuff”.

    Got to love baseball man.

  • George

    Mike A, when will you be posting your 2008 Mock Draft?

    One last point, RAB’s does a great job in posting, how certain players rehabs and exhibition performances are going. But can you include a bit more on the progress of Brackmann, and also, what the Yankee organization is saying about some of its young Latin ball players. Who do they expect that might be playing in GCL and A-ball next year?

    • Joseph P.

      The thing with Brackman is that he will not pitch this year. So it’s tough to gauge his progress. I know Mike posts everything he hears, which is not much, if anything. It’s easy to keep a guy under wraps when he’s at the Tampa training facility all year.

      • George

        Thank you Joseph. Oh! Will you be having the RAB’s Mock Draft before June 4th?

        • Mike A.

          I’m not sure if I’m going to do one this year. Too much work for something that’s nothing more than guesswork. Maybe I’ll do a short one if popular demand warrants it.

  • JohnC

    ANyone know when CJ Henry will return? How long does it take to come back from an outfield collision?

    • Brandon

      last I heard they sent him to the complex to work on some things.

  • chris

    do not forget that in his last 10 stats so in college brackman was only throwing in the high 80s, barely touching low 90s. true it ws due to an injuy, but let’s make sure he recovers from the injury and surgery to throw 100MPH before we annoint him as having the best stuff in the minos.

    admiittedly i do not know too much about garcia, but i find it had to believe he has better stuff than joba because of joba’s feak pitch – the 90mph slider that drops staight down and that he can throw for stikes at will