With their second round pick, the Yanks’ selected Scott Bittle, RHP, Mississippi
My Take: I like the pick. Should move very fast as a power reliever. The cutter should eat wood bats alive.
Outlook: If the Yanks choose to be aggressive with him, they’ll send him to High-A Tampa for the rest of the year. Otherwise he’ll torment the NY-Penn League with Staten Island.
With their second pick, the Yanks selected Jeremy Bleich, LHP, Stanford
Scouting Report: Neither BA nor Keith Law nor MLB have a report on the guy, so we’re out of luck. Here’s his video.
My Take: Don’t like the pick, it’s an overdraft. Can’t even find the kid on BA’s top 200 list.
Outlook: Bah. Staten Island I guess.
The site’s a bit overloaded right now, apparently walkoffs and draft broadcasts don’t mix well. Please be patient if the site loads slow, don’t hit refresh over and over, it only makes it worse. Use this thread until the next post is up.
Update: Got a scouting report: 88-91 with movement, good change and curve. Missed a good chunk of the season with an elbow strain.
With their first round pick, the Yanks selected Gerrit Cole, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS
Scouting Report: Big fastball, 96-97 consistently and touching triple digits, and there’s some projection left. His two seamer comes in a little slower, at 93-94. Sharp breaking ball that’s somewhere between a slider and curve, but it needs improvement. Decent changeup that fades. Not the prettiest delivery, but he’s got time to work on it. Here’s his scouting video, and another clip from ESPN:
My Take: I love the pick. He was the best player on the board, and the Boras factor certainly helped. Best high school righty to come out of SoCal since Phil Hughes said Baseball America. All of the concern about his makeup didn’t pop up until people found out he signed with Boras, so I’m going to reserve judgment on that until I learn more.
Outlook: Signing the kid will probably go right down to the August 15th deadline, so he might not get more than a handful of innings in the Rookie level GCL, if any at all.
The site’s a bit overloaded right now, apparently day games and draft broadcasts don’t mix well. Please be patient if the site loads slow, don’t hit refresh over and over, it only makes it worse. Use this thread until the Yanks pick again.
It’s the return of Jorge Posada, and for once, the Yanks have their opening day lineup on the field. Wait. What’s that? They don’t? Oh no. Now what?
Well, Jason Giambi is out for the second straight day with a foot problem. If this develops into another bout of plantar fasciitis, I’d probably write a serious post suggesting that the Yanks sign Barry Bonds. For now, we’re just holding our collective breaths.
Meanwhile, on the mound today is Chien-Ming Wang, and he really needs a good start. After starting the season with a 6-0 record, a 3.00 ERA and 32 strike outs in 45 innings, Wang had an alarming May. He went 0-2 with a 5.67 ERA and did not nail down a win in five starts for the first time in his career. In 33.1 innings, he has walked 16 while striking out just 13, and his mechanics seem a bit out of whack. Hopefully, he can start June off on the right note.
Game time is 1:05 p.m., and Mike will have draft coverage above this post as it unfolds later this afternoon.
Site Notes: Even though it’s relatively early, we’ve got a lot of content up on site so far today. Be sure to check out Mike’s early draft coverage, my thoughts on a Steve Goldman article and news concerning Brian Cashman’s future.
Cashman flew to Tampa yesterday for MLB’s First-Year Player Draft, which begins today. Asked if he wants to keep Cashman and if Cashman wants to stay, Steinbrenner said, “That’s the impression I get.”
Cashman, the team’s GM since 1998, likes to say he is focused only on this season and not his future, and some around baseball wonder if he wants to come back. Three years ago he deliberated for a couple of weeks before working out a new deal with increased authority.
At that time, two people who know Cashman well but asked not to be named because they were discussing his status, said Cashman was interested enough in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ GM opening to explore the housing market there.
When his contract is up after this season, one of the people said, the decision will be even harder for Cashman.
So Price presents something of a conflicting point of view. On the one hand, he has Hank Steinbrenner’s clearly stating that Brian Cashman is wanted by the Yanks and wants to stay with the Yanks. On the other, he has a few anonymous sources stating that Cashman could explore open GM opportunities in Philadelphia or Seattle.
While Cashman is as divisive a figure among Yankees today as anyone else, we would rather see Cashman stick with the team and continue his drive to build from within while investing in smart free agents. It’s a work in progress, and if the Yanks know what’s good for their long-term success, they should allow Cashman and his baseball ops team to stick together.
Ah draft day. One of the most fun and exciting days of the baseball year. While the actual draft doesn’t start until 2pm, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of stuff going on. BA’s Jim Callis posted a mock first round this morning, and has the Yanks taking prep SS Casey Kelly, son of former big leaguer Pat. KLaw has the latest gossip, and milb.com has a predraft show online. Gotta love the draft.
Update: MLB.com is reporting that the Rays will go with HS SS Tim Beckham with the first overall pick. That probably sets up Pedro Alvarez to the Pirates at 2, Buster Posey to the Royals at 3, Brian Matusz to the O’s at 4, and Justin Smoak to the Giants at 5. After that, all hell breaks loose.
Update Part II: Law also has a projected first round up now. He still has Gerrit Cole dropping to the Yanks. · (46) ·
I know I’m preempting Mike’s wall-to-wall draft day coverage right now. But before we fall into the trap of unbridled optimism over the future of MLB prospects, draw your attention to a recent Steve Goldman in the New York Sun. The man behind YES’ Pinstripe Bible rehashes the recent drafting history of the Yanks and Mets, and it ain’t pretty. He wonders, for example, if “Eric Duncan [failed] the Yankees, or did the Yankees fail him?” The piece serves as an excellent counterpoint to the stock that we all tend to put in prospects now that the Internet allows us unfettered access to stuff that, ten or fifteen years ago, only Baseball America subscribers and scouts knew. · (21) ·
In Yankee-land, Wednesday, September 12, 2007, was a fairly unremarkable today. The Yanks, riding a six-game winning streak, were in Toronto pushing hard for the Wild Card while the Blue Jays were looking to avoid slipping under .500. The Yankees won that game 4-1 despite mustering four hits, and Mike Mussina would emerge the winner, picking up his ninth win of the season. It was the Yankees’ 145th game of the season.
Flash forward nearly nine months to another Wednesday night, June 4, 2008. Again, the Yankees would be playing the Blue Jays. Only, this time, the Yanks would be looking to inch closer to .500 while the Blue Jays were looking to close the gap in the AL East. Again, Mike Mussina would take the mound, and again, he would win his ninth game of the season. It was the Yankees’ 59th game of the year.
What a difference a year makes. Tonight, sitting in the Upper Deck behind the plate, I saw a completely different Mike Mussina than the one I watched slog his way through 5.2 innings in Toronto in September. Rather, this Mike Mussina, throwing many more strikes than the 2007 version, relied on a well-placed fastball and devastatingly slow off-speed pitches to keep the Blue Jays hitters guessing all night long.
Tonight, Moose was again the stopper for the Yankees. He twirled six innings of five-hit ball, allowing one run on one walk and six strike outs. He finished to a standing ovation and lowered his ERA to 4.01. It was just a few weeks ago that I was lambasting Moose for poor pitching against the Red Sox while hoping he could limit the damage to 4.50-4.75 runs per 9 innings.
Well, he’s done that and more basically by becoming a completely different pitcher. No longer sporting a mid- to low-90s fastball, Mussina mixes and matches. He drops in 65-mph curveballs after 88-mph fastballs. He is relentless in pounding the strike zone, allowing just 11 walks in 67.1 innings this season, and he has mastered a new craft at an old age.
So here we sit with 103 games left in the year, and Mike Mussina has a shot at 20 wins for what would be the first time in his career. I ran into an old friend from high school today at the stadium, sitting in the row in front of me. As the game ended, we said our good byes and pondered Moose’s season. Neither of us could believe that Mike Mussina would be the de facto ace of the Yankee staff come June 4.
In parting, we both wondered if this would be the year Mussina finally reached that magically 20 plateau. He needs to win just three games a month here on out, but that’s not as easy as it sounds. Just ask Chien-Ming Wang. In baseball, they say anything is possible. Let’s see this one unfold with a happy ending.
Game Notes: Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Derek Jeter. That’s some rarefied company on the all-time Yankee hit list…The ball really flies off Wilson Betemit’s bat when he makes contact…Nice work by the pen tonight. Mariano Rivera is truly in a league of his own this year…Johnny Damon is 26 for his last 53. That’s a mighty fine .310/.378/.498 line he’s sporting this year.