Low-A Notes: Bichette, Williams, Sanchez, Austin

The Low-A Charleston River Dogs are one of the most prospect-laden teams in the minors, with four of the Yankees’ top seven prospects calling South Carolina a home this season. Keith Law was in attendance for Friday night’s game against West Virginia and shared his observations in a blog post yesterday. Here are a few highlights…

  • Dante Bichette Jr. did not play in the game but he did take batting practice. Law said he “has cleaned [his swing] up significantly since signing” and is better equipped to use the entire field. “He’s much more balanced and upright through contact without costing himself any of the hip rotation that helps him generate power,” he wrote.
  • Mason Williams appears to be selling out for power and didn’t show the same disciplined approach as he has in the past. He remains a top-flight defensive center fielder and Law believes there “will be plenty of power there when his body matures.”
  • Gary Sanchez‘s bat remains ridiculous, with power to all fields despite an exaggerated leg kick. His defense was a “pleasant surprise, as he’s substantially improved over where he was last year in both receiving and throwing.”
  • Mike Newman of FanGraphs got a look at Sanchez earlier this week and did not agree with Law’s assessment of his defense, for what it’s worth. The video above comes from Newman’s article, which you should read.
  • Tyler Austin has a swing that is “effortless [and] balanced throughout with a strong finish for line-drive power.” Law said he was unable to make adjustments to a series of changeups in the dirt and fastballs inside, however.
  • Kelvin DeLeon is the same guy he’s always been. He hits the ball a mile when he connects but can also swing and miss with the best of ’em. I saw DeLeon a few times back in his Staten Island Yankees days, the kid hadn’t met a pitch he didn’t think he could hit.

Charleston is the Yankees’ most interesting minor league affiliate this season and it’s not particularly close. The Triple-A pitchers are closer to helping the big league team, but most of the prospect star power — especially position players — is down in Low-A. They won’t all work out, that’s why it’s important to have so many of ’em.

Massacre: Yankees mount huge comeback in win over Sox


Source: FanGraphs

Sometimes there’s just not much you can say. The Yankees were losing 9-0 after five innings, I had accepted defeat. It’s perfectly normal, losing is part of the game and sometimes you get blown out. Then FOX cuts away for the ninth inning of Phil Humber’s perfect game (how about that?) and comes back 15 or 20 or however many minutes later, and it’s 9-5. Neat. Twitter tells me Nick Swisher hit a grand slam and I’m glad they’re making the Red Sox sweat. Then Robinson Cano doubled and Mike Aviles made an error, and things got really interesting.

You start to think … wow, they’re really going to make them earn this win. That’s always appreciated. Then Mark Teixeira goes deep and it’s a one-run game. Down one with eight outs to go in Fenway Park? Oh hell yes, this is doable. The poor Red Sox never had a chance once they got to within one run. The Yankees scored fifteen unanswered runs from the sixth through eighth innings, turning this sure loss into one of the most memorable wins of my lifetime. Is that hyperbole? Maybe it is. I don’t care.

  • This is going to sound crazy, but at one point 18 of 21 Yankees reached base (!). That’s an .857 OBP (!!) for two and one-thirds turn through the lineup (!!!). Bananas.
  • Mark Teixeira hit two homers, one from each side of the plate. It was the 13th time he’s done that, extending his own Major League record. Believe it or not, the homer he hit from the left side cleared the Green Monster. It was his first opposite field homer as a lefty in three years and his second as a Yankee. Teixeira is hitting .288/.354/.508 following his recent hot streak. Hooray for that.
  • Starting with the number eight hitter and wrapping around the lineup to the two-hole, those four lineup spots went a combined 11-for-19 with three walks. Swisher had the grand slam and also hit the go-ahead two-run double in the eighth. He currently leads the AL with 20 RBI. Swish and Teixeira became just the 20th pair of teammates to each have 6+ RBI in a single game since 1918.
  • You know why the Yankees had a chance to win this game? Because the bullpen — specifically Clay Rapada, David Phelps and Rafael Soriano — kept it from getting out of control. It’s sounds funny that they kept a 9-0 then a 9-1 game close, but that’s what they did. With this offense and that ballpark, all they needed was a chance. Boone Logan and Cody Eppley did some fine work in the eighth and ninth innings.
  • The nine-run comeback ties the largest comeback in franchise history, done four other times. They’ve done it three times against the Red Sox. The last time they came back from nine down was The Jorge Posada Game. The Yankees also scored seven runs in back-to-back innings for only the second time in team history.
  • I don’t want to spend too much time on the negative given such an amazing game and comeback, so all I’m going to say this this: the Yankees can use Thursday’s scheduled off-day to skip Freddy Garcia’s next start and they would be foolish not to take advantage.
  • MLB.com has the box score video highlights, FanGraphs some more stats, and ESPN the updated standings. I can’t imagine we’ll see a better WPA graph this season and the one above. That’s glorious.

The weather forecast for Sunday is not good at all, so the final game of this three-game set may not happen. If it does, it’ll be CC Sabathia against Daniel Bard in the ESPN Sunday Night game. If not, the Yankees will head to Texas for their three-game series starting Monday.

Bichette returns in Charleston win

Tim Bontemps spoke to David Adams about his injuries and goals for this season. In a shocking turn of events, he’s focused on staying healthy.

Double-A Trenton (4-1 loss to Harrisburg)
RF Abe Almonte: 0-5
LF Ronnie Mustelier & DH Cody Johnson: both 1-4, 1 K
CF Melky Mesa: 0-3, 1 R, 1 K, 1 HBP
1B Luke Murton: 3-4, 1 RBI — has hits in six of eight games since being promoted
2B Kevin Mahoney: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K — a personal fave, as I’ve said before
3B Addison Maruszak: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K
C Jeff Farnham: 0-4, 1 K
SS Walt Ibarra: 2-4, 1 2B
LHP Shaeffer Hall: 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 9/4 GB/FB — 60 of 87 pitches were strikes (69.0%)
RHP Kelvin Perez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/0 GB/FB — seven of eleven pitches were strikes
LHP Francisco Rondon: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GB/FB — just five of eleven pitches were strikes

[Read more…]

Open Thread: The next step for Andy

(AP Photo/Eddie Michaels)

While the news on Michael Pineda is not good, everything seems to be going a-okay with Andy Pettitte‘s comeback attempt. The Yankees confirmed today that Andy will made his next minor league start with Double-A Trenton this Wednesday and is scheduled for 80-85 pitches. They want him to make at least two starts of 100 pitches before considering him for the big league roster, so Pettitte is still at least three starts. Still, it’s good news. If you want to catch Wednesday’s game in Trenton, you can buy tickets here. I suggest not hesitating.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. Old buddy A.J. Burnett is coming off the DL to start for the Pirates tonight, plus MLB Network will air a different game later on. The Rangers and Devil both have playoff games tonight and the Nets are in action as well. You folks know what to do, so have at it.

Game 15: Back on Track

(REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

Freddy Garcia owes Phil Hughes a steak dinner, because Phil’s crummy performance in the early going has drawn the attention away from Freddy’s equally crummy performance. The Chief has allowed nine runs in 10.1 IP across two starts so far, including five runs in 5.2 IP against a Twins team that has scored the third fewest runs in the league. Today he gets the Red Sox, a powerful offense despite the absence of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford. Ivan Nova set the tone yesterday, now it’s time for Sweaty Freddy to follow suit and give the Yankees a quality performance. Here’s the starting nine…

DH Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
CF Curtis Granderson
LF Andruw Jones
Russell Martin
SS Eduardo Nunez

RHP Freddy Garcia

This afternoon’s game starts at 4:05pm ET and can be seen on FOX. Enjoy.

Bullpen Alert: The forecast calls for lots of rain on Sunday, so there’s a a pretty good chance tomorrow’s game will be postponed. Don’t be surprised if Joe Girardi uses his bullpen a little more heavily today in anticipation of that impromptu day off. In other words, we could see both Mariano Rivera and David Robertson pitch for the third straight day this afternoon

Pineda suffers setback in Extended Spring Training

Update (3:05pm): Via Sherman, Pineda was examined in Tampa and they decided to send him back to New York for a dye-contrast MRI to see if the initial examine missed anything.


1:15pm:
Via Joel Sherman and Marc Carig, right-hander Michael Pineda felt some weakness in his shoulder during his Extended Spring Training outing today. The Yankees shut him right down and he will go see the team doctor before they determine how to proceed.

Pineda threw one inning today, his first game action since hitting the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis about three weeks ago. An MRI showed no structural damage to his labrum or rotator cuff at the time. He reported no problems while playing catch and throwing bullpen sessions over the last two weeks or so.

Joba resumes workouts in Tampa

Via the AP, right-hander Joba Chamberlain has resumed workouts at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa. He recently played catch with his right knee bent on a stool, just a month removed from his ankle injury. “It’s a little stiff, but good,” said Joba of the ankle, and he’s expected to shed his walking boot in about two weeks. Remember, he’s also got a new elbow ligament to break in as well. It’s not much, but I have to think it’s at least a moral victory for him.