Three Yankees on BA’s Top Minor League Tools Lists

Yesterday we talked about Baseball America’s lists of the top tools in the big leagues, and today they released their lists for Triple-A, Double-A, and Single-A (subs. req’d). Not too many Yankees farmhand made the cut, only Brandon Laird (best defensive 3B), Ramon Flores (best plate discipline), and Slade Heathcott (best defensive outfielder) took home honors at their respective levels. Jesus Montero got beat out by Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox) for top power prospect, Dellin Betances by Henderson Alvarez (Blue Jays) for best fastball, Manny Banuelos by Eric Surkamp (Giants) for best changeup, and Gary Sanchez by Bryce Harper for best power prospect. Seems like the Yanks have a lot of guys that would rank second, third, or fourth in the various categories rather than first.

Yankees likely to cut rotation down to five by Monday

Prior to this afternoon’s game, Joe Girardi indicated that the Yankees are likely to get back to a five-man rotation by the time they start their road trip against the Royals on Monday. “We’re going to try to make our decision before we go to Kansas City,” said Girardi. “We’ve been talking about it, that we need to get down to five men. I’ll let you know [who’s out] when I know.” Sounds to me like Phil Hughes is getting Saturday’s start to show he’s worth the rotation spot, otherwise it’s back to the bullpen for him. Sigh.

Heat mapping Mariano’s cutter

“The pitch didn’t get there enough,” said Mariano Rivera after giving up what proved to be the game-winning homerun to Bobby Abreu on Monday. “It was middle in, not in enough. He put good wood on the ball. You have to make sure you get it there. It didn’t get there.” Two poor outings in a row for the greatest closer of all-time always creates an uproar, so Bill Chuck broke out some heat maps.

They show that Rivera’s cutter has been slowly drifting more out over the plate against lefties, but I’m not sure I agree with Bill’s conclusion that it’s a result of the pitch not cutting as much as it once did. The PitchFX data shows that it’s still getting as much horizontal break as the last two years, if not more. Perhaps it’s just a location issue, maybe he’s having a harder time getting the pitch in on the hands of lefties? If so, is that something that could be fixed by moving a little closer to the first base side of the rubber? I have no idea, just kinda spit balling here. Either way, check out Bill’s post, very interesting stuff.

Game 116: Bartday

The last time Bartolo Colon had a season as good as this one, it was 2005 and he was wearing an Angels uniform. His career had been derailed by injury several times after that Cy Young caliber season, and yet here he is at age 38, giving the Yankees quality innings every five or six days. Kinda hard to believe. Here’s the lineup that will back Colon and face another rookie, the right-handed Tyler Chatwood…

Brett Gardner, LF
Derek Jeter, DH
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Eric Chavez, 3B
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Frankie Cervelli, C

Bartolo Colon, SP

It’s an afternoon game because apparently the Angels have somewhere to be tonight. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on YES. If you’re stuck in the office, you can listen on WCBS 880. Enjoy.

Wandy could be waived this week, Yanks may not get a chance at him

Via Danny Knobler, there’s a “growing belief” that the Astros will place Wandy Rodriguez on trade waivers this week, and that a National League team is willing to roll the dice and risk claiming him. Because of the waiver priority rules, the Yankees would not have a chance to trade for Rodriguez this month if an NL team claims him, whether that team deals for him or not.

Wandy is owed more than $23M over the next two seasons, plus his $13M club option for 2013 turns into a player option if traded. That takes him through his age 35 season, so it’s not exactly a bargain price. Yankees’ ownership pushed for Rodriguez before the deadline, and were willing to pay $21M of the $38M or so left on his contract at the time (assuming the option is picked up). That implies that they value him as a $7M a year pitcher. If a team claims him, the Astros could simply foist the lefty and his entire contract onto that team, much like the Blue Jays did with Alex Rios and the White Sox.