AFL Review: Juan Miranda

miranda-profile.gifJuan Miranda
Pos:
1B
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Age, DOB: 24, 4/25/1983

AFL Stats: AVG 295 OBP 423 SLG 551 with 5 HR’s and 17 RBI’s

Background:
Juan Miranda played for the Cuban National Team from 2001-04, where he put together a career batting average of .303 with 27 HR’s, 73 BB’s while striking out only 87 times. He was used as an outfielder and first baseman in Cuba but his best tool has always been his ability to hit for power while still showing great plate discipline. He defected from Cuba in 2004, after two prior attempts, and was granted his citizenship in the Dominican Republic in 2005. After defecting, he stood firm on his contract demands and was finally able to come to terms with the Yankees when they announced his signing in December of 2006. He was signed to a four-year major league contract that was reported to be worth just over $2 million. He was immediately added to the 40-man roster and assigned to the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League (Class A Advanced).

Miranda’s first year in the minors received mixed reviews. He batted .265 with 16 HR’s and 96 RBI’s while splitting the year between Class A Tampa and AA Trenton. The biggest concern was the drop in his batting average and BB/K rate (52/106) but that should be expected from a player that was away from the game for nearly two years. There was also strong speculation that he’s actually two years older than reported, which would make him 26yrs old if his DOB is in fact 4/25/1981, as listed on Rotowire. [Read more…]

AFL Review: Reegie Corona

corona-profile.gifReegie Corona
Pos: SS, 2B
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
Age, DOB: 21, 11/07/1986

AFL Stats: AVG .188 OBP .291 SLG .313

Background: The Yankees signed Reegie Corona (pronounced “Ree-Gee”) as a 16 year old project during the July 2nd signing day back 2003. He was generously listed at 160 pounds and didn’t have the strength that was needed to be a starting player in the minors so he spent the next year and a half getting ready for the full season leagues. He made the most of his time and started filling into his frame and in 2005 he made his debut with the Staten Island Yankees. He didn’t hit much that year and was barely a blip on the prospect radars. However, in 2006 he was given an opportunity to fill in for an injured CJ Henry and he made the most of it by belting his first two home runs and had an average that hovered close to .400 during a 16 game stretch. From that day forward the Yankees haven’t been able to take Corona out of the line-up. He’s continued his hard work in the weight room and has added an extra 35 pounds of muscle to his frame. The Yankees took a risk with his projection as a 16 year old and that gamble seems to be paying off. [Read more…]

AFL Review: Brett Gardner

Brett Gardnergardner-profile3.gif
Pos: CF
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Age, DOB: 24, 8/24/1983

AFL Stats: AVG 343 OBP 433 SLG 380

Background: The book on Gardner would have you believe that he’s a one dimensional slap-hitter that needs to outrun ground balls in order to get on base. That is simply not the case. According to Firstinning, he bunted in only 2% of his AAA appearances last season and his line drive rate was 18%. However, one area he needs to improve is being more aggressive early in the count. In the past, it seemed like his first objective was to draw a walk and if he got two strikes against him he would fight pitches off and hope that he gets another good pitch to hit. So his main goal heading into the AFL was to become a more aggressive hitter by looking for his pitch earlier in the count. This was very important for him to learn because most pitchers at the major league level will make him earn his way on base.

Offense: Gardner is the type of player that won’t blow you away with his stats but when you watch him on a daily basis he can look like one of the most dominant players on the field. [Read more…]

AFL Recap

Jackson

AFL Peoria Javelinas (6-2 Loss to the Phoenix Desert Dogs)

Brett Gardner: 1-4, RBI, SB Tied for the league lead in SB’s with 14. Robbed of a hit (Line Drive) by the third baseman.
Juan Miranda: 1-4, 2B, R (the box score incorrectly shows 2-4) Lined a double off the LF wall
Reegie Corona: 0-3, BB, R Robbed of a double by McCutchen on a shoe string catch. Hit the hard all night but nothing to show for it.
Steven Jackson: 2IP, 2H, 2ER, 3K, 1BB All three SO’s were on great sliders.

There were a couple scouts that were pimping the Yankee prospects during the game. It could be just coincidence or it could have something to do with the GM meeting that are taking place right now. They were very complimentary of BG, calling him the ‘fastest player in the league’ and said that he’s been ‘hitting the snot out of the ball’.

The AFL goes International

AFL Lineup

AFL Peoria Javelinas (20-4 Win over Team China in 7 innings)

Brett Gardner: 3-5, 4 R’s, 2 RBI, 2 SB. All three hits were line drives – two were up the middle and one over 1B. Now has 11 SB’s / 0 CS
Juan Miranda: 0-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K. Had trouble slowing the bat down – He SO on what looked like a 60mph change-up in the 1st inning. Now hitting an even .250. Replaced in the 4th inning.
Reegie Corona: 0-3, 1 K. Hitting .176 overall. Replaced in the 5th inning.
Steven White: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB. Lowered ERA to 10.29

The Chinese Olympic team was a late addition to the AFL schedule. The stats count but these are really just scrimmage games while they prepare for the Olympic tournament. Things didn’t look good for them even before the game started. They instituted something I’ve only seen in beer league softball – they announced the game would be stopped if theres a 10 run lead after the 7th inning. The hitting wasn’t bad but the pitching was terrible. It looked like they were topping out in the low-to-mid 80’s at best.

The only thing that slowed down the Javelinas today was a swarm of killer bees (seriously) in the bottom of the 4th inning. It was a strange scene – some of the Chinese players started laying flat on the ground during a pitching change and no one seemed to know what was going on because of the language barrier. So then everyone sees them looking up at a black cloud of sorts that was hovering in across the right field foul line. Now I’m originally from NJ and have never seen killer bees in my life so I almost did a full stop-drop-and-roll technique as they passed over home plate. The bees didn’t bother anyone and they eventually just flew over the media suites and left the stadium. I’ve been watching for foul balls and bats and such but killer bees was never a thought. I’ll have to file that one away.

The photo’s are on the other side [Read more…]

B-Sizzle

Gardner

AFL Javelinas (9-5 win over the Phoenix Desert Dogs)

Brett Gardner
: 2-5, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SB. Reached on a bunt single and stole both bases without a throw. He’s now up to seven SB’s.
Reegie Corona: 1-4, 2 R, 1 BB. Hitting .375 left handed / .000 right handed.
Eric Wordekemper: 1 IP, 1 H, zeros. Topped out at 89mph on the gun.

Miranda didn’t play, but they’ve added one of his AFL hits on YouTube. The game photos are on the other side. [Read more…]