Winter leagues coming to a close

Scout's Notes via Josh Norris
Open Thread: Juan Espino

A whole bunch of former Yankees farmhands landed with new teams over the last few weeks, including Greg Golson (Royals), Jon Albaladejo (Diamondbacks), Eric Hacker (Giants), and Kanekoa Texeira (Reds). Mitch Hilligoss was released by the Rangers, and the Hanshin Tigers released Marcos Vechionacci after he hit .255/.359/.436 in 128 plate appearances in their farm system last year. The Yankees could use an extra corner infielder at Double/Triple-A next year, maybe he’ll come back for an encore.

Anyway, the various winter leagues in Latin America are starting to wrap-up their seasons, so you’re probably only going to get one more update after this one. Then it’ll be about three months of silence before the regular season gets underway.

Dominican Winter League (final stats)
Abe Almonte, OF: 31 G, 6 for 39, 3 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 SB, 2 CS (.154/.195/.154)
Zoilo Almonte, OF: 11 G, 6 for 35, 4 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 9 K, 1 CS (.171/.216/.200)
Melky Mesa, OF: 20 G, 10 for 48, 6 R, 3 2B, 3 3B, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 10 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP (.208/.283/.396)
Gary Sanchez, C/DH: 8 G, 6 for 20, 3 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 9 K (.300/.364/.300)
Cesar Cabral, LHP: 20 G, 0 GS, 12.2 IP,7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 13 K, 1 WP (0.71 ERA, 0.79 WHIP) – Rule 5 Pick better hope he pitches like this in Spring Training if he wants to make the team
Juan Cedeno, LHP: 15 G, 0 GS, 8.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K (1.04 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
Ronny Marte, RHP: 1 G, 0 GS, 0 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB
Hector Noesi, RHP: 10 G, 10 GS, 46.2 IP, 45 H, 22 R, 14 ER, 10 BB, 27 K, 1 HR, 2 HB (2.70 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) – finishes the year at 127.2 IP, still a good bit behind the 160.1 IP he threw in 2010
Francisco Rondon, LHP: 1 G, 1 GS, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP)

Mexican Pacific League
Jose Figueroa, OF: 7 G, 2 for 7, 3 K (.286/.286/.286) – 19-year-old spend last season in the Dominican Summer League, where he hit .200/.337/.343
Walt Ibarra, IF: 44 G, 20 for 132, 14 R, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 8 BB, 32 K, 2SB, 1 CS, 1 HBP (.152/.206/.174)
Ramiro Pena, IF: 32 G, 31 for 118, 12 R, 4 2B, 4 HR, 4 BB, 10 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP (.263/.336/.368)
Jorge Vazquez, 1B/DH: 54 G, 70 for 205, 34 R, 7 2B, 18 HR, 60 RBI, 21 BB, 62 K, 3 HBP (.341/.409/.639)
Felipe Gonzalez, RHP: 2 G, 0 GS, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HB (20.25 ERA, 3.00 WHIP) – 20-year-old spent the season in the Dominican Summer League, striking out 43 in 57.1 IP
Cesar Vargas, RHP: 2 G, 0 GS, 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HB (4.50 ERA, 2.50 WHIP) – soon-to-be 20-year-old struck out 85 in 71.2 IP in the Dominican Summer League this year
Pat Venditte, SwP: 30 G, 0 GS, 29 IP, 27 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 6 BB, 41 K, 6 HR, 1 WP (2.54 ERA, 0.85 WHIP)

Puerto Rican League
Ray Kruml, OF: 20 G, 13 for 59, 5 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 9 K, 6 SB, 2 CS (.220/.242/.305)

Venezuelan Winter League
Dan Brewer, OF: 6 G, 1 for 19, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 10 K, 1 HBP (.053/.174/.053)
Colin Curtis, OF: 32 G, 29 for 111, 17 R, 6 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 16 BB, 21 K, 3 SB, 1 CS, 3 HBP (.261/.369/.369)
Jose Gil, C/1B: 31 G, 22 for 80, 16 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 7 BB, 16 K, 1 SB (.275/.330/.438)
Gus Molina, C: 40 G, 29 for 113, 10 R, 6 2B, 5 RBI, 9 BB, 22 RBI, 2 HBP (.257/.317/.310)
Jose Pirela, IF: 55 G, 67 for 220, 24 R, 7 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 35 RBI, 11 BB, 25 K, 4 SB, 1 CS, 4 HBP (.305/.345/.414) – nice winter
Rich Martinez, RHP: 1 G, 0 GS, 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 2 K (0.00 ERA, 2.50 WHIP)

Scout's Notes via Josh Norris
Open Thread: Juan Espino
  • Plank

    Aren’t Deangelo Mack and others playing in Colombia?

  • CJ

    Sanchez and noesi.

  • CS Yankee

    The DWL ate the Almonte’s lunch while fellow countrymen added to the legend of JoVa.

    Does lit’l “rule-5” CC (or cc for that matter) have a shot at letting Boone move along to his next career (half kidding) or would he be LOOGY part deux?

    • Ted Nelson

      I think Cabral has a reverse split or a minimal split with a good change. Even if he makes the team, I don’t think that necessarily spells doom for Logan who has been a quality reliever for the Yankees.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    Any idea where Noesi’s IP limit will be set for 2012?

    • Plank

      30 more than last season is the Q&D number. So 157.2, maybe?

    • RetroRob

      There’s no reason he couldn’t deliver up to 185 regular-season innings. That would be thirty above his career peak in 2010. He’s also 25 and will be pitching in his seventh season of pro ball. He’s more than ready to be a full-time MLB starter if required, although it seems likely he’ll start in AAA and be the first called up due to injury or failure on the MLB rotation.

      • RetroRob

        *Twenty-five* above his career peak.

        The “thirty inning” increase refers to many-times disproved Verducci effect, and even that refers to career peak, not sequential seasons, and prior to age 25, none of which applies to Noesi. Not that I want to give any credence to the Verducci effect beyond the general idea of not abusing pitchers.

        • Plank

          You can use your “facts” all you want.

          Just kidding, good points one and all.

          • RetroRob

            My point wasn’t directed at your comment as much as the automatic belief that we add “thirty innings” and that’s the number. A 20-year old without much of a track record shouldn’t be treated the same as a 25-year old who has already hit 160 innings as recently as 2010 and didn’t have any specific arm problem in 2011.

            I don’t think it will matter too much, since if the Yankees start Noesi down in AAA, they will keep him stretched out, but they’ll also monitor his innings so he is available throughout the season. He probably won’t pitch more than 165 innings between the minors and majors, or all in the majors, and I don’t see any reason he couldn’t handle that workload.

            I’m hoping they give him a real shot.

            • Plank

              I feel like I’m a lot lower on Noesi than most. I’m not expecting much better than replacement level from him starting, I would be thrilled with average starter results(96 ERA+). One person even said he would be able to replace Colon’s production (164.1 IP, 111 ERA+) I would think that’s unrealistically high.

              Why does everyone think he’ll be ready to shine next year?

              • RetroRob

                It depends on how someone defines success. I’m not a big fan of ERA+ beyond using it as a quick and very initial determination before digging down deeper in the numbers. (For example, AJ Burnett in his last year in Toronto in 2008 had an ERA+ of 103 or 104, which was the lowest of his career in a season where he pitched 100+ innings, yet all added up it was either his first or second strongest season in the bigs, regardless of what ERA+ indicated. Sadly, the diminished AJ of the past two years is nowhere near as good as past AJ. His pitches aren’t as sharp and his velocity is decreased, and he was never all that pitcherly, which is why I’m not hopeful of any type of comeback.)

                I’m a fan of using the 5th spot to break in young pitchers pretty much on a yearly basis if decent arms exist, hoping the prior year or two versions continue to improve, and if not, either moving them to the pen or trading them. Phil Hughes to me is now in that category ib 2012 where he needs to establish himself as something more than a back-end pitcher. I no longer expect a front-end starter (please prove me wrong, Phil), but he’ll still need to show more than a #4/5 since the Yankees can find others in that category(such as Noesi, etc.) who will be cheaper.

                Noesi has a good fastball and he’s always had good command. He was a bit more injury prone earlier in his career and lacked secondary pitches, which he’s added in the last few seasons. I see his ceiling as a #3, which is good, although if he could give the Yankees 160 innings of league average in 2012 I’b be quite happy to build from there. No, that’s not going to really replace Colon, but I don’t see Colon replacing Colon either.

                The Yankees need to start working in Noesi, Phelps and Warren to see what they have, or package them for something better.

                • Plank

                  I agree about the predictive nature of ERA+, I was just using it as a blunt proxy for performance.

                  I would love 160 IP of league average from Noesi next year, I just see that as possible, but not likely. Hopefully he goes the Nova route and makes me pleasantly surprised and Nova takes a similar step forward yet again.

                  The Yankees need to start working in Noesi, Phelps and Warren to see what they have, or package them for something better.

                  That’s true, I would just add, that if they try them out and they flop, it will be hard to package them for something better.

              • Guns of the Navarone

                I’m with you on Noesi. When it comes down to it, he’s an extreme flyball pitcher who has posted some unimpressive strikeout numbers at the upper levels. His command can be pretty good so that should get him by, but if you don’t get ground balls and you don’t get strikeouts, chances are you’re not going to be very successful.

                I honestly don’t see what the fuss is about.

                But who knows… his numbers have been better than Nova’s across the board in the minors, save for the GB%. Nova was able to impress in the 2nd half with his improved slider, and I’ll take a ~ 4 FIP from him anytime. Maybe Noesi can find his groove in the bigs too and really get a handle for one of his secondary offerings and rides it as a strikeout pitch.

        • RetroRob

          Actually, as I think it over, Verducci might be sequential, although it’s still unimportant considering the quick sand Verducci’s effect is based on.

  • CJ

    Prior to 25 is also key for strength and endurance to develop and to pace a young prospect with stuff that advances faster than body. At this point, 25, Noesi himself is willing to risk blowing his arm to be a major league starter. After 25, he’s no longer a “prospect” he becomes an arm, journeyman.

    • dan genovese


      • American Horror Story

        love mr steven