• Padres place Nova on waivers
    By

    Via Ken Rosenthal, the Padres have placed righty Ivan Nova on outright waivers (as well as lefty Justin Hampson) after he posted an 8.31 ERA and 3-4 K/BB ratio in 8.2 IP this spring. Nova was selected from the Yanks in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, so he would have had to stuck on the Pads’ 25-man roster all season for them to keep him. If no other team claims Nova, he’ll be offered back to the Yanks for half of the $50,000 R5D fee. I think it’s safe to say Nova will be coming back. I mean if the Padres couldn’t find room for him on their staff, no team will. (h/t pat for the email)

    Elsewhere in Rule 5 news, Brian Cashman wouldn’t comment on the rumor that Jason Jones was placed on waivers by the Twins, cleared, and has been offered back to the Yanks. Jones had a 2.70 ERA in 10 IP this spring, and as you probably remember he had some unkind words for the organization last month. The Yankees have more arms than spots available in Triple-A and Double-A, so I suspect they’ll just thank the Twinkies for the $50k and let them keep Mr. Jones.

    Update (1:24pm): The Yanks acquired righty reliever Charles Nolte from the Twins for the right to keep Jones today. Nolte had a 2.05 ERA and a 75-35 K/BB ratio in 70.1 IP with Low-A Beloit last year. He was the Twins 24th round pick in 2007. (h/t Marc)
    · (23) ·

Mar
28

Scouting the Yankees

By in Players. · Comments (38) ·

Part of our jobs as fans is to develop opinions about everyone on the team, for better or worse. Everyone once in a while it’s nice to get an outside opinion on our boys, and thankfully Mark Feinsand spoke to a Major League scout recently about the team. I’m not going to repost the entire article obviously, but here’s some of my favorites. Make sure you check it out, it’s a great read.

“Jeter is the No.1 guy on the club no matter how you look at it. He makes that team go. He can play for my team any day. He has the damndest inside-out swing I’ve seen in my life. He’s a smooth player. He doesn’t have a lot of time left at shortstop, but he’s what he should be – a captain. He’s the leader of this team and has the greatest makeup of any player ever. He’s the consummate professional. His defense is solid. He can make all the plays, can turn the double play and still has good feet. Is he the best? No. But he’s still good enough. I like everything about Jeter.”

Defense is solid? Well, Cap’n Jetes can make the play on any ball he gets too, but the problem is that doesn’t happen often enough.

“Ransom has been released twice – and there’s a reason for that. He did a good job last year when he came up, and in the utility role, he’s fine. As a starter, he won’t see a fastball. Changeups and sliders get him out, and when the season starts, that’s all he’s going to see. Players can live on the first-pitch fastball in March, but in April that doesn’t happen. He’s been a subpar hitter at the major league level, so there’s no reason to think that will change if he plays regularly. If they’re lucky, he’ll get hot for the first month. Pitchers are going to slider him to death.”

This is something worth watching. Ransom saw just 46.5% fastballs last year, and 34% breaking balls according to Fangraphs. It’s too bad he doesn’t have much big league experience before that to compare it too.

“Wang’s sinker ball is terrific, but he needs his stuff to be working and his command to be right. He drives scouts crazy with his windup, but he puts hitters to sleep. If you don’t get to him early, he’s got you beat.”

That last little line is so true. You can usually tell what kind of game it’ll be for the Wangster based on how the first inning goes. If he mows through the top three hitters on like, nine pitches, then you know you’re golden. If not, then more often than not you’re looking at one of those 3 IP, 10 ER games he’s capable of putting together.

Here’s the scout’s take on Joba:

“The first two outings this spring, he looked terrible, but after he got it back together, he’s had great movement in the strike zone and knee-buckling breaking balls. I think he’s better off as a setup man for Rivera, because it fits him best to come in and blow it out for an inning or two. Can he be effective as a starter? Of course. They just have to build his innings up and hope he doesn’t break down. I understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.”

So this guy’s a B-Jobber, but that’s okay because at least he acknowledges that it’s smart of the Yanks to give him a shot at starting first. No one is guaranteeing that Joba can hold up as a starter, but isn’t worth trying at least?

“Rivera is absolutely remarkable. The first couple outings in the spring, he looked as good as ever. You know what’s coming, and whether you’re lefty or righty, you just can’t hit it. He’s just fabulous. I hope he goes on forever, even though we know he can’t. Teams know it’s over when he comes in. As long as they keep feeling that way, he’s got the upper hand. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.”

Amen, brother.

Categories : Players
Comments (38)
Mar
27

Si Si!

By in Game Stories, Spring Training. · Comments (28) ·

The game wasn’t on television, but CC Sabathia showed the Yankees and their fans what their new ace is capable of tonight. After a 23 pitch first inning in which he allowed just a single, Sabathia surrendered a run in the second on three singles. He then retired sixteen Reds’ hitters in a row, pitching into the eighth inning while throwing 68 of his 93 pitches for strikes, exactly what he was scheduled for. Sabathia struck out seven, walked one and had a 14-3 GB/FB ratio. That … is purdy.

Damaso Marte relieved Sabathia, getting the only batter he faced to fly out. Mariano Rivera worked a flawless ninth, striking out one and inducing a pair of groundballs on the bare minimum of five pitches. The pitching staff was simply awesome tonight. You gotta love it, Spring Training or not.

The offense was led by El Capitan and Mark Teixeira, who each drove in a run. Jeter doubled and went 1-for-4 with a run scored out of the leadoff spot, while Tex went 2-for-3 out of his customary three-hole. Xavier Nady went 1-for-3 and picked up the Yanks’ only other hit, while Jorge Posada drew a walk and scored a run. Brett Gardner and Cody Ransom each swiped a bag, but otherwise went hitless. The 4-1 win was the Yanks twelfth in their last fourteen games.

The Yanks play the Braves in Orlando tomorrow afternoon, but the MLB Network broadcast has been blacked out at YES’ request. It’ll long reliever competition day, as Brett Tomko (starter), Al Aceves and Dan Giese are scheduled to throw three innings each.

Comments (28)
  • PA: New stadium is TV unfriendly
    By

    Here’s an odd little tidbit about the new stadium: According to Peter Abraham, the new digs are “not particularly conducive to television cameras.” The YES camera crews say that the views from the camera pits down the line are not too clear, and the view from behind the plate will be through a net. Abraham imagines that YES, ESPN, Fox and TBS may ask the Yankees to improve the view. In an age in which TV viewership is so important to the game, the Yankees probably should have thought of this one already. · (14) ·

Oh you can just go to hell Memphis. I’m down to three of my Final Four and six of the Elite Eight, max.

Here’s your open thread for the night. The Yanks are in action against the Reds in an untelevised game tonight, while the Isles and Devils are in action locally. You’ve also got a quartet of college baseketball games going on. Anthing goes, just be nice.

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (36)
  • Boss to be at new stadium opener
    By

    George Steinbrenner doesn’t pop up too often in New York City these days. He is reportedly in very bad health, and in Joe Torre’s book, Steinbrenner comes across as suffering from either Alzheimer’s or dementia. Despite the 78-year-old’s frailty, according to Kat O’Brien, Steinbrenner will be at the Yanks’ home opener in April. Kat’s sources say George is confined to a wheelchair these days and probably won’t make a public appearance because of that. The old lion, though, will still want to see the new stadium after which he had lusted for so many years. I wonder if he’ll be able to truly appreciate the new digs. · (6) ·

Mar
27

RAB Live Chat

By in Chats. · Comments (9) ·

Categories : Chats
Comments (9)
  • Yanks to take away ballpark freedom
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    Both Jason at IIATMS and Ross at NSI wrote on some dismaying fan-related developments in Yankeeland on Wednesday. The Yankees have updated their A-to-Z ballpark guide, and with that update comes the news that fans who are not ticketed for the field level will not have access to that area during batting practice or to the food-filled concourses ringing the lower bowl.

    So while we could on Tuesday report the good news of increased access to batting practice, today we bemoan the fact that people with seats in the upper reaches of the park will have to watch BP from way up high. The old stadium held open hours during BP, and patrons didn’t have to take their seats until well after the teams were finished hitting. This move just rubs me the wrong way, and as Ross notes, it’s completely anathema to the current trends in stadium access. Hopefully, this provision will be unenforced during the pre-game action.
    · (99) ·

Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and USS Mariner fame has been counting down his rankings of all thirty organizations. He’s based his rankings on four main categories: Ownership, Front Office, Major League Talent, and Minor League Talent. He grades each category than tallies up the scores, however it’s a sliding scale rather than a straight average of the individual scores to get the overall. Unsurprisingly, the Nationals bring up the rear with an overall grade of F. That’s what happens when your ownership doesn’t care and your GM is incompetent and your scouting director can’t get his first round pick signed.

Also unsurprising is that the top three organizations in Dave’s rankings come from the AL East, with the Yanks specifically coming in third. Team Ownership gets the highest possible grade of A+ because, as Dave puts it, of the way the Steinbrenner’s have expanded the Yankee brand. The Major League roster also grades out with an A, and frankly how can it not. They employ arguably the best player at their position at first base and third base, as well as in the front of the rotation and at the back of the bullpen. You really can’t argue with the talent on the 25-man roster.

The Front Office scored slightly lower, coming in at a B+. Here’s Dave:

Brian Cashman doesn’t get enough credit for the things he’s done right in New York. Yes, the payroll gives their baseball operations department room to make mistakes that no other franchise could live with, but he’s continually targeted the highest quality of players. He’s also redirected significant cash back into the farm system to develop home grown talent, and he’s shown that he’s an adept trader when he needs to add a piece to the puzzle. The money obviously helps, but Cashman is a good GM, and the Yankees are run well.

Cashman is one of the more controversial figures in Yankeeland. Many point out the moves that haven’t worked with the benefit of hindsight, while others contend that you can justify those same moves based on the information known at that time. We at RAB fall into the latter camp obviously, but we’re not stubborn enough to think our GM is without his faults. Regardless of how anyone feels, Cash is the man in charge and he’s steered the ship to a prolonged run of excellence.

The final category is the team’s Farm System, which comes in the lowest rated of the four categories at just a C+. Could you argue that it should be a B- or possibly even a B? Yeah, you can, but we’re splitting hairs. Bottom line, the Yanks’ most Major League ready young talent works almost exclusively out of the bullpen, and there’s only one player that projects as an everyday regular above A-ball. Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and KLaw were all correct when they rated the farm system middle of the pack.

The two remaining organizations are the Red Sox and Rays, which shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. Both clubs should receive an A of some sort for the first three categories, but Tampa has Boston beat in the farm system department, so I expect The Little Team That Could down in Florida to top the rankings. The bottom line, the AL East is going to be ridiculously competitive for the next few years. Should make for some great baseball.

Categories : Analysis
Comments (56)