• More on possible September callups
    By

    The indispensible Chad Jennings took a look at which Triple-A Scranton players have earned themselves a September callup this season. Since not all of them will actually get the call, he also mentions who he thinks will ultimately get some big league action. As an added bonus, he lists which players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this offseason. Make sure you check it out, Chad’s stuff is always worth the read.

    Oh, and check out my Sept. callup post if you missed it. Even if you didn’t, go ahead and give it another read.
    · (74) ·

While we still have a month left of regular season baseball and, hopefully, a few weeks of October play in the Bronx, nothing dominates the conversation quite like the Hot Stove League does. In his latest weekend roundup, John Perrotto drops in a bit about the Yankees and Johnny Damon:

The Yankees would prefer to re-sign Johnny Damon to a one-year contract for 2010 and allow outfield prospect Austin Jackson a second year to develop at Triple-A, meanwhile pursuing such big-name free-agent outfielders as Matt Holliday and Jason Bay in the offseason.

This is not, of course, the first time we’ve heard the rumblings about Damon and the Yanks. We looked at some early Damon rumors on the 18th and the potential costs of a deal on the 25th. One way or another, Damon and the Yankees will exchange ample conversations about 2010 once November rolls around.

What strikes me about Perrotto’s report are the two other pieces. The first part involves Austin Jackson. As a 22-year-old at AAA, Jackson’s numbers are far from terrible. He is hitting .294/.352/.401 and has stolen 22 out of 26 bases. That’s the good of it.

The bad of it is rather extensive. He has hit just four home runs all season; he has struck out 118; and his BABIP is an unsustainable .386. Plugging his numbers into the Minor League Equivalences tool gives us a line of .255/.301/.340. He makes Melky look like an All Star, and it is clear that Jackson needs a least part of another season at AAA.

Next up are the dueling Jason Bay/Matt Holliday rumors that Perrotto drops. For the most part this year, we’ve heard about varying degrees of interest the Yanks may have in these two players. Some sources say the Yankees will kick the tires on Bay — to force the Red Sox to pay more — and Holliday because he’d be a great fit for Yankee Stadium. Other sources say the Yankees are loath to dole out more multi-year contracts for aging outfielders and may not be in a position to do so financially after landing Mark Teixeira last winter.

Between Bay and Holliday, though, my choice would be Holliday. The current Cardinals outfielder is 21 months younger than Bay and has proven that he can hit outside of Coors Field this year. The idea of giving four or five years to either of these players though isn’t one I can readily embrace.

As the calendar marches on, we’ll hear a lot about Damon and the Yanks’ outfield plans for next year. They have a left field vacancy to consider and a center field spot that could use an upgrade. With Jackson potentially waiting in the wings but still some time away, the Yanks have some tough developmental choices to make this winter. How it plays out will be interesting indeed. It always is.

Addendum: Another reason the Yanks might be interested in retaining Damon.

Comments (265)

Record Last Week: 4-2 (43 RS, 24 RA)
Season Record: 82-48 (739 RS, 613 RA), 6.0 games up
Opponents This Week: @ Baltimore (3 games), @ Toronto (4 games)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
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Categories : Polls
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Yesterday, when Joba left the game after throwing just three innings and 35 pitches, the Internet was abuzz with criticism of the Yankees plan. Andrew Fletcher of Scott Proctor’s Arm called the move “utterly moronic” on his Twitter feed. Ross of New Stadium Insider commented that “the Joba rules keep on getting lamer and lamer” on his. Plenty more fans chimed in with similar comments. Apparently the Yankees decision to limit the workload of their prized young pitcher isn’t going over well with the fan base.

Many of these same people criticized the Yankees when the plan was to spread out Joba’s starts over the remainder of the season. This brings to the fore an apt question: what, then, are they supposed to do? If the Yankees aren’t going to shorten Joba’s starts or spread them out, then what options do they have?

1) Pitch Joba as normal and shut him down when he reaches his prescribed workload
2) Pitch him normally without regard to prior workload

As to the former: if people are complaining about Joba now, the noise would be louder than ever if the Yanks shut down Joba. It would relegate either Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre to the fourth starter slot in the playoffs, should the Yankees need one. It would also be denying the team a useful pitcher. While it would probably be the best thing for the future development of Joba Chamberlain, it just doesn’t fit well into the way 2009 is unfolding.

As to the latter, I’ve made my feelings known on the matter. That said, if you believe that Joba should throw as many innings as possible this year, there’s no way we’re going to see eye to eye. May I suggest, though, that you go out tomorrow and add 50 pounds to your bench presses and 3 miles to your daily run. Then see how you feel the next day.

The whole point of the “Joba Rules” is to make sure they’re not adding too much weight to the bar. By keeping the incremental increase in his workload under control, the Yankees hope to prevent Joba from succumbing to the injuries and bouts of ineffectiveness we’ve seen afflict so many young pitchers in recent years. The Yankees have invested millions of dollars in this pitcher, and could see millions more in production from him in the future. If they can keep him healthy, that is.

One thing I noticed in this argument is that many people do not favor the way the Yankees are going about this. Said Fletcher on his Twitter feed: “Treating August games like spring training games is not doing it right.” To that I ask: What is doing it right? He suggests they do it in the minors. Unfortunately, that’s not much of an option right now. The minor league season ends rather soon, and as we’ve argued many times, Joba might not learn much by pitching down there. He has the stuff to destroy minor leaguers. At least he’s being challenged in the majors.

The Yankees are afforded some luxuries because of their lead and their current level of play. It seems like the Red Sox are winning every day, but the Yanks still maintain their lead in the East by a sizable margin — and that margin grows with each passing game, because the season creeps closer to an end. One of those luxuries of which they’re taking advantage is the ability to curb Joba’s innings while pitching him regularly in the majors. This might not be the same story if it was the Yankees who trailed the Red Sox by six games and led the Wild Card race by a small margin.

This is not a necessary endorsement of the specific manner in which the Yankees are handling Joba. Maybe having him throw normal starts that are spread out further is the better plan. Maybe letting him get to 160 like normal and then shutting him down is the best for his long-term potential. I don’t know which is best, and neither does anyone else out there. We should understand by this point that just letting pitchers go out there and throw is a poor strategy. There need to be limits to ensure that young pitchers don’t vastly exceed their previous workloads.

Please, if you don’t agree with a move that the Yankees make, criticize them for it. However, when you choose to do so, make sure you have some substance to your argument. Why are the Yankees doing this wrong? What should they be doing instead? This is what makes for good arguments and conversations. Instead, thanks to media like Twitter, we’re getting a lot of noisy complaining with no substance to speak of. That won’t fly. If you don’t agree with the Yankees handling of Joba, tell me why, and what might work better. That’s the kind of talk we appreciate around these parts.

Categories : Rants
Comments (173)

One year ago today on DotF, Ian Kennedy pitched Triple-A Scranton to a division title.

Triple-A Scranton
Game 1
(5-3 loss to Pawtucket in 7 innings) makeup of yesterday’s rain out
Kevin Russo & Frankie Cervelli: both 2 for 3 – Russo drove in a run & walked
Ramiro Pena: 0 for 4 – played CF
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4
Shelley Dncan & Yurendell DeCaster: both 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI – Shelley K’ed & threw a runner out at home from RF
Juan Miranda & Reegie Corona: both 0 for 3 – Corona K’ed
Cody Ransom: 0 for 2, 1 R, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 E (fielding)
Ivan Nova: 4 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 6-4 GB/FB – 46 of 74 pitches were strikes (62.2%)
Amaury Sanit: 2 IP, 0 H,  0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 4-1 GB/FB – 23 of 35 pitches were strikes (65.7%)
Anthony Claggett: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 3-0 GB/FB – 7 of 11 pitches were strikes

Read More→

Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (33)
Aug
30

Open Thread: A-god

By in Open Thread. · Comments (254) ·

It’s amazing that there are still people talking about the White Sox as possible contenders in the AL Central, isn’t it? Remember when Mark Buerhle was Mr. Perfect and Alex Rios was going to solve the centerfield problem and Jake Peavy gave them four dominant starters? Yeah, those were the days. Anyway, now that the Yanks have swept those frauds out of the town, I want to point two stat lines out to you.

First…

.304-.390-.575-.965

Second…

.313-.431-.553-.984

That first set of numbers is Alex Rodriguez‘s career batting line. His career line is basically equal to what Miguel Cabrera is doing this year. Think about that for a second.

The second set of slash stats? That’s A-Rod‘s batting line since June 24th, which is the day Brian Cashman visited the team in Atlanta. That 22 point difference in SLG … you know what that is? It’s one stupid double every 47 at-bats. I’ll take the 41 point boost in OBP over those missing 22 SLG points every day in the week. So please, let’s stop all this nonsense about A-Rod not being the same hitter he was before the hip surgery. He’s got 100 OPS points on MVP candidate teammate Mark Teixeira since that fateful day in Atlanta. The guy is a machine.

* * *

So anyways, use this as your open thread. The Braves and Phillies are the ESPN Sunday Night game, and you’ve also got Jay Cutler returning to Denver on NBC. Anything goes, but be cool to each other.

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (254)

Welcome to the Year of Joba. The Yankees have a good, young pitcher on an innings limit, and as the team hasn’t seen one of those since innings limits became all the rage, every start — nay, every pitch — brings it with intense scrutiny and fan overreaction.

Today, the Yanks’ plan for Joba resembled something out of the Spring Training manual. With a few weeks left in the regular season and 30 innings remaining for Joba, the Yanks will keep their youngster on normal rest but control his innings. Today, he was set for 3 innings or 50 pitches, whichever came first. With Joba and his 17.3 pitches per inning, you never know.

Well, with the anemic White Sox offense on tap, Joba made it through three innings well before he reached 50 pitches. In fact, Joba needed an economical 35 pitches to record nine outs. He threw 23 of them for strikes and gave way to Al Aceves and the bullpen as the Yanks’ bats led the way to a weekend sweep against the reeling White Sox.

There was but one problem with Joba’s 35 pitches: They weren’t that good. The game started off with a Scott Podsednik triple, and he scored on a Gordon Beckham ground out. While the Yanks tied the game in the first on a Derek Jeter double and a Mark Teixeira sacrifice fly — the first of Mark’s four RBIs on the day — the White Sox grabbed the lead in the third on back-to-back-to-back singles with a stolen base in there for good measure. Joba ended strong with a strike out of A.J. Pierzynski, but he would head to the showers with a so-so line: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.

For Joba, the problem seemed to be one of velocity. While he was throwing more strikes, he averaged below 92 with his fastball and peaked at around 94.4. His changeup, slider and curve were all working nicely, but I still wonder, as I have many times this season, where Joba’s 97 mph fastball went. He threw it last year regularly as a starter but only occasionally this year.

Anyway, with Joba out, the Yankees’ bullpen and bats went to town. Johnny Damon gave the team a lead with a two-run shot in the third. That blast was his 24th of the season, and Damon is now tied for his career high in home runs. The Yanks’ left fielder later left the game with cramps in both of his calves and is day-to-day.

For the next four innings, the game was a tense affair. Al Aceves, coming off of a few rough August outings, held the White Sox to just two hits and no runs in three masterful innings of work. He struck out one and grabbed his ninth win of the season. In the 7th, Aceves gave way to Damaso Marte who retired Jim Thome on four pitches. With a few righties up, Joe Girardi went to David Robertson. The Yanks’ K specialist nailed the second out of the inning and had Mark Kotsay down to his final strike, but a pair of singles prolonged the inning.

Out went Robertson, in came Phil Hughes, and there went the White Sox’s chances. Hughes retired Jayson Nix on a fly ball to Eric Hinske, and the Yanks’ bats took over. Melky and Jerry Hairston, Jr. each contributed RBIs on a double and sac fly, respectively, and then Mark Teixeira put this one out of reach with a towering blast into right field. It was his 32nd home run of the season, and as he touched the plate, his RBI total reached 101. He leads the AL in that category.

With an 8-2 lead in their pockets, the Yanks let Hughes pitch a 1-2-3 8th, and while Phil Coke gave up a two-out home run to Jermaine Dye in the 9th, it mattered for little. There would be no 9th inning comeback, and the Yanks would head down to Baltimore with their 82nd win. As the Blue Jays lost to Boston, the magic number drops only by one game to 27, and October is inching ever closer.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (91)

Aceves is looking good, but of course the White Sox suck, so take it with a big grain of salt.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (362)

Joba Chamberlain will start the final game of the series for the Yankees this afternoon, but no one knows exactly how long he’ll go. As we learned on Friday, there is a new set of Joba Rules which will allow for Joba to take the ball every five days and keep his innings in check. This is a departure from the previous plan, which was to give him extended rest. The Yankees weren’t happy with the results they got so far, so rather than stay the course they’ve decided to alter the plan. They’ll achieve the same result, just using different means.

The plan is to keep him in a rhythm by handing him the ball every five days. The catch is that he won’t be going many innings in some of these outings. Entering play today Joba has thrown 130.2 innings, so he probably has around 30 to go for the season. He might not go that long today — the plan is to build him back up to six innings per start by the end of the season, in preparation for the playoffs, so they’ll have to skim some innings from starts in the interim.

Backing up Joba will be Al Aceves and David Robertson. Some of Aceves’s best performances this year have come in relief of Chamberlain, though he hasn’t been great in his last few outings. He did hold his own against Texas on Thursday after a four-day layoff, so perhaps he’s had time to recover. The Yanks could use a good two or three innings out of him today. If they can get four from Joba and three from Aceves and Robertson, they should be set up to toss Hughes and Mo to close it out.

That, of course, depends on the offense. They’ll get their chance against Freddy Garcia. You might remember that the Yanks expressed interest in the righty prior to the season, but he ended up signing with the Mets. That experiment didn’t last long, as the Mets jettisoned him before he could make a major league appearance. The White Sox later picked him up, and have given him two starts to date.

Those starts haven’t been all that great. He allowed five runs in 4.1 innings to the Royals his first time out, though that could have been shaking off the rust. Last time out he faced the Red Sox and allowed three runs over 6.1 innings. He used only 93 pitches in that span, so perhaps Freddy is coming around to be a serviceable pitcher for a second-tier team. Hopefully the Yanks get to him before he fully comes around.

There was a complaint about Melky starting in our Twitter feed. I have no problem with this. He’s the starter. He got a day off yesterday, and that’s fine. Good even, considering how he’s been slumping. Now he’s back in the lineup. We’ll see if he can start swinging the bat a bit better.

Lineup:

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Eric Hinske, RF
9. Melky Cabrera, CF

And on the mound, number sixty-two, Joba Chamberlain.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (310)
  • Betances undergoes Tommy John surgery
    By

    Via Mike Ashmore, pitching prospect Dellin Betances had Tommy John surgery a few days ago and is starting the rehab process in Tampa. Betances made eleven starts for High-A Tampa this year, but between various injuries he’s managed just 159.2 IP over the last two years. Hopefully he’s ready to go in 2011. · (27) ·