Yankees claim Matt Antonelli off waivers from Orioles

Mason Williams and the next level
Nova expected to start Saturday after bullpen session

Via Eddie Encina, the Yankees have claimed infielder Matt Antonelli off waivers from the Orioles. Mark Feinsand confirms that he’ll head to Triple-A, and that Cesar Cabral was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot.

Antonelli, 27, was once a top prospect with the Padres and even cracked Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list back in 2008. He owns a .261 wOBA in 65 career big league plate appearances, all coming with San Diego a few years ago. Antonelli is a .234/.347/.361 career hitter in over 1,200 Triple-A plate appearances and posted a .308 wOBA at the level this year. He’s primarily a second baseman so I highly doubt he replaces Jayson Nix or anything. This seems like a move intended to replace depth in the minors for whenever Nix is cut loose, frankly.

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Mason Williams and the next level
Nova expected to start Saturday after bullpen session
  • A.D.

    Alright #50 prospect by BA in 2008

  • MP

    This is their answer to teh Cliff Lee going to Philly?!!1!???

  • DERP

    No idea why Baltimore gave him a major league deal.

  • A.D.

    Scary looking back at some of those Top 100s and realizing just how many guys never make it

    • viridiana

      On the other hand, many who never make the BA 100 wind up as good major leaguers. D-Rob and Nova are two. Also, I don’t think (though it’s possible I’m wrong on one of these) Mo, Pettitte or Posada ever made Top 100 (Bernie and Jeter did, of course).

  • SMK

    Welcome organization guy.

  • Bo Knows

    Someone on Pinstripealley (Yankee SB nation blog) sent me a message about this guy, really interesting and possibly explains the problems in AAA despite his really good strikeout rate, and walk rate.

    • Bo Knows

      A former 1st round pick (17th overall, 2006) of the Padres, he signed quickly and progressed rapidly through their system in 2006 and 2007. His progress up through AA ball at that point had Sickles rating him as a B+ prospect and the #2 guy in the Padres system with a good glove, solid bat and good strike zone judgment but questionable power (I’m guessing the latter is why the Padres moved he from 3b to 2b). But Antonelli fell off the table in 2008 (although he did get a cup of coffee with the Padres that year), going from a .294/.395/.476 in AA in 2007 to .215/.334/.322 in AAA in 2008.

      His numbers didn’t improve in 2009 (.196/.300/.339) and after 54 games he was shut down with wrist pain that could not be diagnosed and didn’t respond to cortisone shots. He was finally diagnosed with a broken hamate bone and underwent surgery in April of 2010. According to his web site, he had been experiencing severe wrist pain for two years. If true, it’s no wonder that his batting and power numbers vanished (his batting eye remained solid even when he couldn’t hit).

      The Padres cut him after the 2010 season and he signed with the Nationals. And, with the surgery (and the wrist pain) behind him, his bat is back. Over 90 games and 374 PA – all but 4 and 15 at AAA Syracuse – he has slashed .298/.390/.447 in 2011, posting the best OPS on the team. He looked a lot like that guy that Sickels rated a B+ entering 2008. His strike zone judgment is still good (60K, 47BB), but with marginal power (20 2b, 3 3b, 8 HR). After the season Sickels (in his book) ranked him as a C+ prospect – a little old for a prospect, but with some upside. Understand that I’m not touting Antonelli as a great prospect at this point; I’m guessing his ceiling would be a solid middle infielder/unspectacular #2 hole hitter, with the most likely role being that of a utility guy (he has played 2b, SS, 3b and a little bit of OF).

      credit to d_c_guy at PSA for writing this

  • Cesar “Stairs” Cabral

    Adios, bitches.

    RIP Matt Antonelli