Via Jim Street of MLB.com, the Mariners have signed RHP Josh Fields, their 2008 first round pick. Fields was a senior and ran out of college eligibility, which is why the August 15th deadline didn’t apply to him. So why do Yankees fans care? Because as Lane Meyer of NoMaas explains, Fields’ signing eliminates the compensation pick Seattle would have received if he didn’t sign, so now the Red Sox pick one spot ahead of the Yanks instead of one spot behind them. You can see the updated pick order at our 2009 Draft Order Tracker. Oh well, such is life.
As the name implies, the Yanks have signed veteran righty Brett Tomko to a minor league deal, and PeteAbe says he gets an invite to Spring Training. Tomko had a decent year in 2005, going 11-7 with a 4.04 ERA for the Giants, but since then he’s bounced around with a Dodgers, Padres and Royals. His strength has always been limiting walks (2.89 BBper9), and I’m guessing he was brought in to provide a little competition for the long man spot. It’s basically a no risk move, because if he stinks they’ll cut him with zero consequences. Realistic best case scenario: Tomko pitches well during the spring and the Yanks are able to trade him for a Grade-C prospect before Opening Day. (h/t MLBTR)
TFGIF. On to the links:
- As usual, PeteAbe’s got you covered from camp. He’s got audio from the Yanks’ new ace and the full Spring Training roster, and he even found the time to sit down for an interview with The Big Lead. I’m unemployed and I can’t even find time to drop my laundry off at the laundromat so the people there can wash my clothes for me. Man am I lazy.
- Tim Dierkes ran through all of this year’s Spring Training cliches at RotoAuthority. Unlike these guys, I put on 15-20 pounds this offseason.
- Part of me wishes the Yanks had more young players on their roster so I could put one of these together for RAB. The other part of me realizes how awesome it is to have CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira.
- Dan Turkenkopf at THT took a look at which pitchers allowed the most quality contact against based on some fancy math. He uses AJ Burnett as an example.
- Here’s another list of the worst contracts in baseball, except this list isn’t retarded. (h/t Neyer)
- AZ Snakepit sat down to a chat with Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes; here’s parts one and two. Hopefully one day we’ll get to do something cool like that.
- Maury Brown penned an open letter to Bud Selig.
- I know this is a few weeks old, but I feel ya Bally Star.
As you may or may have noticed, we added a small new feature to the site. Each comment now has a little box just above the reply button; if the button is orange, that means it’s a new comment. If it’s gray, that means you’ve seen it already. It updates after someone leaves a new comment and you hit refresh. Right now, hitting refresh without a new comment on the post doesn’t change anything. If we can solve the caching conflict, that functionality should be restored.
Here’s your open thread for the night. The Devils and Rangers are both in action, and the NBA is off for the All-Star Break. Anything goes, just be nice.
Photo Credit: Gene Puskar, Associated Press
KG over at Baseball Prospectus posted his list of baseball’s top 100 prospects today, with two Yankees making the list: Jesus Montero at #38 and Austin Jackson at #46. Jose Tabata barely squeaked on at #91. It’s not just KG, but in general there’s just a lot of people who are stubborn when it comes to Pedro Alvarez. He showed up to camp out of shape on two occasions already, plus there’s questions about his defense and ultimate position, and concerns about his strikeouts (167 K in 170 games with Vandy, too many for an elite college guy). Plus he hasn’t seen a pro pitch yet. I’m sorry, but he’s just not a top five prospect at this point.
Shameless self promotion: don’t miss my Top 30 Prospects list.
Over the years I’ve gone through phases when it comes to these lists. A few years ago I was all about upside; if you had a significant ceiling you were making my list, regardless if you struck out 195 times in 134 games (coughTimBattlecough). These days I find myself favoring probability and closeness to the majors. Don’t get me wrong, upside is still a huge part of prospect rankings, but I’m definitely starting to weigh readiness more in my rankings. It just makes sense considering the shift towards younger players in today’s game.
The Yankees’ system was definitely in the red this year. The losses sustained due to graduation, trades, injuries and ineffectiveness outweigh the gains brought on by breakouts and player acquisitions. Three players from last year’s top ten are no longer with the organization, and just one player from the top five makes a repeat showing there this year. On top of that the Yanks failed to sign their first and second round draft picks. While they’ll reap the benefits of the compensation picks this year, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to match the potential of Gerrit Cole, nevermind Scott Bittle. Forfeiting their first, second and third round picks in next year’s draft for signing free agents means they’ll be working at a disadvantage as they try to rebuild the system.
Despite all that, the Yanks’ affiliates did a whole lotta winning this year. Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Trenton (pictured) each won their league titles this year, and it was Trenton’s second consecutive championship. All told the minor league affiliates combined for a 406-287 record (.586 winning percentage), far and away the best in baseball. They were the only club to eclipsed the 400 win mark, and the next best organization (Rangers) had a .556 winning percentage. Winning obviously takes a back seat to development in the minor leagues, but it’s always nice to give your young players a taste of success.
As I was putting this list together, I didn’t have to put too much thought into figuring out who the organization’s top three prospects were. Barring a trade I knew exactly who numbers one, two and three were going to be basically since September. Numbers four through seven are pretty interchangeable in my eyes, eight through nineteen even more so. Don’t get too worked up if I ranked your favorite prospect lower than you would have liked, quite often the difference between a set of two, three or ten prospects is smaller than you may think.
Andy Oliver, a LHP at Oklahoma State, won his lawsuit against the NCAA today, and he has been deemed eligible for the upcoming baseball season. There’s a chance you remember hearing me speak about Oliver the end of an early January edition of the RAB Radio Show, but if not, let me review succinctly: Oliver sued the NCAA because he was ruled ineligible after it was discovered that he had used an agent to negotiate on his behalf back when the Twin’s drafted him in the 17th round of the 2006 draft. Today’s ruling abolished the “no agent” rule, so amateur players can now hire representation without consequences.
Players hired agents anyway, so why is this such a big deal? Because now Scott Boras can hold a press conference and officially say “Stephen Strasburg will not sign for anything less than $12M.” That’s an extreme example, but it gives you can idea how this can affect the already broken draft system.