Sunday Night Open Thread

Eat your heart out, Joe Maddon. Vanderbilt pulled off the rare triple-steal against Florida yesterday, and it was basically a straight steal of home with the trail runners advancing as everyone stood around in surprise. One-run lead, bases loaded with two outs in the ninth … that’s a gutsy call. Really gutsy. Hard to see a big league team ever attempting that given the risk, both in terms of outcome and injury.

Anyway, here’s your open thread for the evening. The Nationals and Braves are the ESPN Sunday Night game with a primo pitching matchup: Gio Gonzalez vs. Brandon Beachy. There’s also some NBA playoff action going on as well. You folks know what to do here, so have at it.

Game 47: The Drive for Five

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Yankees have won four straight for the third time this season but they’ve yet to win five in a row. All that stands in their way is a soft-tossing rookie left-hander they’ve never faced before. Might as well be Sandy Koufax in his prime, amirite? Here’s the lineup…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
DH Andruw Jones
LF Jayson Nix
C  Chris Stewart

Today’s game starts a little after 4pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Russell Martin Update: Martin is out with a stiff neck but it’s nothing serious. It shouldn’t keep him out more than a day or two.

2012 Draft: Shadowing the Sickels’ Mock Draft

My first rounder. (Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian)

Every year over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels hosts a community mock draft. I acted as the Yankees mock scouting director way back in 2007 and while that was fun, it was incredibly time consuming. For the last few years I’ve just shadowed their mock draft, meaning I’ve gone back after the fact to look at who I would taken with each of the Yankees’ selection. This isn’t any kind of serious analysis or projection, it’s just for fun.

They used to do the first five rounds but have since knocked it down to three for what I assume are time-related reasons. Seriously, it sucks up the entire afternoon. The mock was conducted yesterday, so here are the links — first, sandwich, second, third — and here are my selections…

First Round (#30 overall)
Mock Draft: RHP Shane Watson, California HS
My Pick: 3B Carson Kelly, Oregon HS

Kelly is a big personal fave and I reached for him based on consensus rankings and the mock draft — he went 57th overall to the Reds. I really like him though. Here’s my write-up. Watson is one of the better prep pitchers in the class and a true back-half of the first round talent. He’ll sit anywhere from 90-96 with the fastball and can snap off nasty curveball every so often. Like most high schoolers, he’s working on a changeup and you’re dreaming on him adding velocity as he fills out. It’s worth noting that the Yankees have been connected to Florida HS SS Addison Russell in various mock drafts and he was still on the board for this pick.

Second Round (#89 overall)
Mock Draft: C Dane Phillips, Oklahoma City University
My Pick: RHP Duane Underwood, Georgia HS

This is the compensation pick the Yankees received after failing to sign second rounder Sam Stafford last season and I feel like I got a steal. Underwood’s a borderline first round talent and there’s a chance he’ll go in the back-half of the first round next week, so nabbing him nearly 100 picks in is a coup in my eyes. Between him and Kelly, I feel like I’ve got two top 30-35 talents. I wrote Underwood up last week, so check that out for more info. Phillips has climbed up draft boards as the spring has progressed because he’s crushing weak competition, though his ability to remain behind the plate is uncertain. A team would really have to believe in the glove to take him this high. Here’s my write-up on Phillips.

Second Round (#94 overall)
Mock Draft: OF Preston Beck, UT-Arlington
My Pick: LHP Alex Young, Illinois HS

Although the franchise’s history is littered with quality left-handers, the Yankees have done a pretty poor job of carrying on the tradition in recent years. Young has already shown three pitches — low-90s fastball, curveball, changeup — and has lots of room to grow in his 6-foot-3, 190 lb. frame. He has a strong commitment to TCU and is expected to be a tough sign, but with more than $500k in slot money to work with, I’m not going down without a fight. Young is the kind of kid that will come out of school in three years as a first round pick, assuming his coach doesn’t shred his arm first. Beck’s a solid selection; a corner outfielder with a strong left-handed bat and defensive skills. He had hip surgery last summer and there is some question about his power potential, so he’s a ‘tweener risk.

Third Round (#124 overall)
Mock Draft: Young
My Pick: RHP Zack Quintana, Nevada HS

Well, I jumped the gun on Young a bit. I like him though and didn’t want to miss out, plus we’re talking about a difference of $130k in slot money. Anyway, Quintana is an undersized kid that runs his fastball up to 95 with a power breaking ball and a changeup that is advanced for a high schooler. He strikes me as very undervalued because of his size (5-foot-11, 180 lbs. or so) in a draft class that is light on quality prep arms. I also considered Tennessee HS SS A.J. Simcox with this pick, a true shortstop who has grown up around the game because his father has coached at Tennessee for nearly two decades. He’s raw but has exciting power-speed potential.

* * *

I’m a high school prospect guy as you can tell. I’ve always felt that getting players under professional instruction as soon as possible is the best thing for their development because bad habits are easy to develop in college, where winning is the priority. Not development and growth. Had the mock draft continued for another round or two, I probably would have looked for a college relief arm or two to not only balance things out, but to also save some draft pool money to use elsewhere and perhaps get decent value relative to round.

Teixeira homers twice, Yanks win fourth straight


Source: FanGraphs

Can the Yankees play the Athletics all the time? Must be nice to be in the AL West, huh? The Yankees won their fourth straight with a 9-2 drubbing of Oakland on Saturday, giving them 26 runs in their last four games. They’d scored 25 runs in their previous nine games combined (two wins, seven losses). Let’s recap…

  • Tex Power: With two homers (one to right, one to left-center) and two singles (one through the teeth of the shift), Mark Teixeira is now the proud owner of a 104 wRC+. It took 46 games, but he’s finally producing at a rate better than the league average. Tex has hit three homers in the first two games of the series and four in his last ten games. Welcome to 2012, buddy. We’ve missed you.
  • CC Power: It wasn’t CC Sabathia‘s best outing — two runs in the first three innings, including a solo homer by lefty Josh Reddick — but he settled down well and retired 11 of the final 12 men he faced on just 40 pitches (3.33 P/PA) after throwing 69 pitches to the first 18 batters (3.83 P/PA). His fastball command was off again and I can’t help but wonder if it’s related to the weight loss, like it’s throwing off his delivery or something. Sabathia had a similar issue last season before packing on a few pounds during the summer. That said, I’ll take two runs in seven innings all season.
  • Misc. Power: Robinson Cano hit his second homer in as many games, third in four games, and fourth in eight games. He doubled and singled as well. Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, and Eric Chavez all had two hits apiece though Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez could only muster one walk each. Raul Ibanez didn’t reach base at all. The Yankees couldn’t do anything wrong offensively, they pushed runs across with singles and a sacrifice fly then blew it open late with the long ball. Should make everyone happy.
  • Leftovers: Wasn’t a fan of Chris Stewart’s third inning bunt (surprise, surprise), but Jeter managed to single through the drawn in infield so it didn’t really matter … Cory Wade struck out two in a perfect eighth inning while Cody Eppley walked one in an otherwise uneventful ninth … the Yankees scored runs in six of nine innings, roughing up former teammate Bartolo Colon for six runs in his six innings … Granderson got caught stealing for the third time in four chances this year (what’s up with that?).

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees will look to complete the sweep on Sunday afternoon behind Hiroki Kuroda. Soft-tossing left-hander they’ve never seen before Tom Milone stands in their way.

Homers rule the day in the minors

Voting for the Triple-A All-Star Game is now open. 1B Steve Pearce, DH Jack Cust, RHP Kevin Whelan, and LHP Juan Cedeno are all legit All-Star candidates and deserve your vote.

Triple-A Empire State (8-7 loss to Buffalo)
CF Kevin Russo, LF Ronnie Mustelier & 3B Brandon Laird: all 1-5, 1 K — Laird doubled and scored a run
SS Matt Antonelli: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K — only his 22nd career game at short
1B Steve Pearce: 2-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
DH Jack Cust: 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K — three homers in the last two games and four in the last six
RF Cole Garner & 2B Ramiro Pena: both 2-4, 1 K — Garner doubled and drove in a run … Ramiro scored a run
C Gus Molina: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K — picked a runner off second with a snap throw
RHP D.J. Mitchell: 6 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 8/1 GB/FB — 60 of 104 pitches were strikes (57.7%) … hooray for strikeouts and grounders, boo for runs and walks
LHP Justin Thomas: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K — seven of his 12 pitches were strikes
RHP Manny Delcarmen: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 16 of 27 pitches were strikes (59.3%) … blew the one-run lead in the eighth

[Read more…]

Saturday Night Open Thread

You may have seen it already, but if not, that video of Lower Columbia College outfielder Derrick Salberg making a game-saving catch has been circulating through the netweb. It helps that the fence is like, two feet ball, but Salberg gets an A+ for effort. Had his feet not still been in the field of play at the time of the catch, it would have been a homer. Dude really sold out for it.

Anyway, here’s your open thread for the night. The Rays and Red Sox are your FOX prime time game (Price vs. Beckett) though some of you may have another game depending on where you live. MLB Network will air a late West Coast game tonight as well. Apparently there’s also an NBA Game Seven tonight, and Game Sevens are always fun. Talk about whatever you want here tonight. Have at it.

Game 46: Heavyweights

(Sabathia vs AP, Colon via Getty)

I mean this in the nicest way possible: today’s starters CC Sabathia and Bartolo Colon are enormous. Just two physically huge, very large men. The official sites list Sabathia at 6-foot-7, 290 lbs. and Colon at 5-foot-11, 265 lbs, but I don’t think those have been updated since high school. That’s just their build, they’re always going to be big. At least Sabathia has the advantage of height to go along with his girth. The mound in Oakland is really going to earn its paycheck today. Here’s the starting nine…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
DH Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Nick Swisher
3B Eric Chavez
C  Chris Stewart

LHP CC Sabathia

This afternoon’s game starts a little after 4pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.