Remember April? It’s easy to start off an article that way, since things are so vastly different now than they were then. Now Jason Giambi is helping carry this offense. Now Melky Carbera has cooled off, to say the least. And now Chien-Ming Wang is having his bout with ineffectiveness.

During the season’s first month, Wang was 5-0, picking up his sixth win without a loss on May 2. Since then, he’s 0-2, and has seen his ERA balloon from an even 3.00 to 4.57. The “Wang is an ace” crowd was getting rather indignant in April. They’re not quite eating crow yet, but their arrogance was certainly overstated.

According to pitching coach Dave Eiland and catcher Jorge Posada, Wang’s troubles are in the form of a mechanical issue. I’m loathe to write this phrase, since it was also attributed to Randy Johnson when he came to New York, but it appears Wang is “flying open” during his delivery. This leads him to “drop his right elbow and push the ball rather than drive it down. That means no sink on his sinker and a loss of command.”

Posada notes that because he uses different arm angles for his slider and sinker, he’s having trouble moving from the former to the latter. This seems a bit strange to me. If he’s using different arm angles for specific pitches, isn’t that an easy tip to hitters? Then again, that could be another facet of his recent struggles.

So we’re getting less than expected from Pettitte and Wang, and realizing the worst case scenarios from IPK and Hughes. Yes, we’re getting far more than anyone could have expected from Mike Mussina and Darrell Rasner, but that hasn’t quite balanced things out yet. But as the offense returns to its true form, we’re going to rely on these pitchers to drive us a 15th straight playoff appearance.

Categories : Pitching
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With their 9th round pick, the Yanks’ selected Mikey O’Brien, RHP, Hidden Valley HS (Va.)

Scouting Report: A short (5’11″) righthander, O’Brien works with a low-90′s fastball, a good changeup and a solid curve. He commands his pitches exceptionally well, and could add a tick or two as he fills out. He can hit a little too, leading his team in RBI as a senior.

My Take: I love the pick. He’s got a strong commitment to Winthrop, but anytime you take a 5’11″ player named Michael (just like me), you done good. And, well, he sounds like a heck of a pitcher too.

Outlook: If they sign him, he’ll get a few innings in the Rookie level GCL.

Categories : Draft
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  • Bruney could be back by the All-Star break
    By

    Well, if there was ever good news, this is it. Buried a bit in this notebook, the main part of which I’ll discuss shortly, Ed Price notes that Brian Bruney has been cleared to throw from 60 feet, and could make his way back this season, as early as the All-Star break. I know many of you aren’t convinced that Bruney can cut it, but he looked impressive early on. Considering our current options in the pen, his comeback would be more than welcome. · (18) ·

Jun
06

Welcome to Day 2

By in Draft. Tags: · Comments (32) ·

Hard to believe there’s still 44 rounds left in the draft, huh? The draft starts back up at noon (I think), and you can follow along all day via MLB’s Draft Tracker. I’m not going to blog all of the Yanks’ picks today, just the signability guys and any other ones I feel like chiming in on. Here’s some quick notes:

  • Lane Meyer of NoMaas fame dug up some good info on 6th rounder Brett Marshall. Brett’s father Eddie said it’ll take around $1M to sign his son away from Rice, and to that I say: Fuck the heck dad, pay your own mortgage! Seriously though, the Yanks wouldn’t have taken the kid this high if they didn’t have the intention of signing him.
  • I’m a pitching guy for whatever reason, I’ve always tended to gravitate towards the guys on the mound more than the guys in the box, especially high schoolers. That said, there’s some great pitching left available, led by Pepperdine RHP Brett Hunter, prep RHP’s Alex Meyer & Danny Webb, and prep LHP’s Nick Maronde & Brett Mooneyham. All five are signability guys at this point, and I want Maronde more than any of the other three. Taking him right out of the chute in the 7th round would already be a steal.
  • The best hitters left on the board are Pepperdine LF/DH Eric Thames, and prep 3B’s Zach Cox and Harold Martinez. Thames missed the end of the season with a quad injury, Cox is a signability guy at this point, and Martinez just had a terrible draft year. Any of the three is a coup regardless of where they are drafted at this point.
  • John Manuel and JJ Cooper of Baseball America wrapped up the first and sandwich rounds in a great 15-minute podcast. Manuel raved about the Jeremy Bleich pick, noting that he has first round talent but fell off the radar because of a minor elbow injury.
  • KLaw wrapped up the first round best pick/worst pick style.
  • Paul DePodesta live blogged each of the Padres’ picks. DePo’s blog has become a must read, make sure you don’t miss it.

Finally, I just wanted to mention that we shattered all sort of records yesteday (and by we, I mean you). Over 25,000 readers checked in, more than double a typical game day. I guess a walk-off win and the draft will do that. Over 720 comments were left on the draft posts alone, and that oblierated the RAB single day record by like, 300 comments. Thanks for making us part of your daily rotation, and if you just found the site yesterday, thanks for sticking around in the future.

Categories : Draft
Comments (32)

It’s amazing what a two-out, two-strike, two-run, walk-off home run will do for a team.

Shortly before 4 p.m., Yankee fans were ready to write this game off. Chien-Ming Wang had another terrible outing; Melky Cabrera had made a very costly play in the field; and Kyle Farnsworth had just pitched yet another ineffective eighth inning, giving up a run that I assumed would be the end of the Yankees.

But the loss just wasn’t meant to be. With two outs, A-Rod singled and moved to second on what would be a costly defensive indifference. Hideki Matsui singled him home, and up to the plate strode the red-hot Jason Giambi, battling a foot problem. Giambi fell behind 0-2, and then he launched one, high and deep and far into the upper deck. Watching the game, I thought the ball was foul. I shook my head and said, “Almost.” It was the same “Almost” I had said to myself when Brad Wilkerson tracked down Johnny Damon‘s blast in the bottom of the 8th.

But somehow, the ball stayed fair, and the crowd and the Yankees erupted. It was a come-from-behind win, a badly needed W that drew the Yankees even at 30-30. It marked a comeback from five down, and it showed that, yes, Jason Giambi is a force to be reckoned with, just as Jamal has told us all for the entire season.

As the adrenaline from that victory flowed, I couldn’t help but reflect on the problems in the game that were sure to be ignored. We saw Chien-Ming Wang struggle, Melky Cabrera make a bad play and Robinson Cano fail to get down a bunt.

Cano and Cabrera are simply playing below what anyone expected. Melky’s inexplicably dropped double play line drive led to five runs. Instead of being out of the inning, Chien-Ming Wang was out of the game. It seems to me to be another sign that Melky just isn’t quite what he’s supposed to be.

Cano’s bad play came late in the game when he failed to bunt Wilson Betemit to second. We could argue night and day whether the Yanks should be bunting in the eighth (short answer: They shouldn’t be), but Cano must get that bunt down. I know he’s been a middle-of-the-order hitter for a long time, but really, a Major Leaguer should be able to bunt now and then.

We’ll end with Wang. I am officially concerned. Wang is now winless since the start of May, and he’s been utterly terrible lately. He’s given up 26 earned runs in 37.2 innings, while allowing 39 hits and 20 walks while striking out 16. That is a 6.21 ERA, and Wang is, whether we want to admit it, scuffling. Something’s got to give, and I have to believe that perhaps Dave Eiland is to blame. Outside of Mike Mussina, he’s hardly done a good job this year with Kennedy and Hughes struggling and Wang looking lost on the mound.

But in the end, the Yanks won, and they won in grand style. For a day, we’ll forget these problems, and we’ll look forward to chasing the Red Sox, just 6.5 games ahead of the Yankees. But these problems linger; let’s not forget that either.

Site Notes: Just want to say thank you to everyone who dropped by on Thursday. We had a record-breaking day on RAB.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (67)
Jun
05

DotF(o shizzle)

By in Down on the Farm. · Comments (22) ·

What a day. First a walk-off win, then the Yanks draft Gerrit Cole, then Manny and Youk get into a fight in the dugout, and then on top of all that, it was a pretty kick ass night in the system. Our annual draft day technical meltdown was cause by the enormous amounts of traffic coming to the site, which is a nice change from the shitty server induced meltdowns of years’ past. In case you missed any of the draft action, go here.

Here’s the box scores: AAA, AA, A+ and A-.

  • Ben Broussard traded in one of those doubles for a homer.
  • Eric Duncan picked up two hits, one a double.
  • Jeff Marquez had his best start in AAA, but he didn’t strike anyone out over 7 innings. He had an 18-3 GB/FB ratio though.
  • Austin Jackson & Jose Tabata each doubled in run some runs. Eladio Rodriguez had a pair of two-baggers.
  • Al Aceves had his worse start of the year, giving up 5 runs in 6 IP.
  • Bo Hall picked up the win with 2.2 hitless innings of relief.
  • Mitch Hilligoss, Andres Perez and James Cooper each picked up a pair of hits.
  • Ivan Nova got rocked, giving up 7 hits and 6 runs in 5 IP. He did strikeout 7 though.
  • Charleston’s game is not quite done yet, but they’ve already drawn 13 walks as a team. Crazy.
  • Abe Almonte reached base 3 times before being lifted. The River Dogs were winning big, so I’m guessing it was just to rest him up a bit.
  • Justin Snyder laced a pair of doubles. Lots of doubles tonight, eh?
  • Bradley Suttle, Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Brandon Laird & Carmen Angelini all picked up a hit and either lots of RBI or lots of walks. The offense was just ridiculous tonight.
  • Adam Olbrychowski pitched well for 3 innings, but Wilkins DeLaRosa came in and shobed it for 4 innings: 2 baserunners, 5 K, 5 groundballs.

Anyone hear Michael Kay during the game today say that Girardi should have the entire team on the field an hour early tomorrow to learn how to bunt? Hysterical. Regular DotF returns Saturday after I recover from the draft.

Update: Forgot to mention this link. Baby-Bombers.com is selling game used Staten Island Yankees’ jerseys, which is pretty cool. They have everyone imaginable, from Dellin Betances to Eric Duncan to Darrell Rasner to Eric Wordekemper to Mike Gillespie to David Parrish to Steve Karsay to Dan McCutchen to Jose Contreras, you name it, they have it. Cool stuff.

Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (22)

With their 6th round pick, the Yanks’ picked Brett Marshall, RHP, Sterling HS (Tx.)

(can’t find a pic)

Scouting Report: The first “signability” guy the Yanks grabbed, Marshall works at 91-94 with his fastball and has a knockout slider when right. Struggles to the throw trikes because he’s inconsistent with his delivery. Only 6’0″, 185 lbs, but Baseball America rated him the 87th best prospect in the entire draft class. Here’s his draft video.

My Take: Love it. Time to start flexing those financial muscles.

Outlook: If they sign him (committed to Rice), it’ll probably go down to the wire, so he may not get into any games this season. More than likely he’d head to Instructional League where they can work on his delivery.

They’re done picking for the day. Rock Solid haul with some intriguing prep position players and two stud high school arms. Back at it tomorrow.

Categories : Draft
Comments (31)

With their 5th round pick, the Yanks’ selected Chris Smith, LF, Centennial HS (Ca.)

(not finding a picture with a name like that)

Scouting Report: Can’t find anything on him. Baseball America rated him the 105th best prospect in the state of California though. Here’s his scouting video.

My Take: Dunno enough to say. Maybe he’s a tooled up uber-athlete like Austin Jackson. Seems like a little bit of an overdraft.

Outlook: Rookie level GCL I guess.

Looks like they’re going one more round. Those cooky front office execs.

Update: This boy can hit. His line this year: .708-.744-1.361-2.105.

Categories : Draft
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With their 4th round pick, the Yanks’ choose Corban Joseph, SS, Franklin HS (Tn.)

Scouting Report: Hits for power and average to all fields, but he’s an offense first shortstop and will likely have to change positions. He’s got a big wiry frame, so there’s plenty of room to add strength. Fast, but not a burner. Here’s his scouting video.

My Take: I’m intrigued. If the kid can hit then the kid can hit. Like I said for the Adams’ pick, the Yanks need middle infielders.

Outlook: Not sure how his signability looks, but if they lock him up he’ll head to the Rookie level GCL.

Categories : Draft
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With their third round pick, the Yanks selected David Adams, 2B, Virginia

Scouting Report: He’s a grinder, gritty, hard-nosed, all that stuff. Decent pop (10-15 homers a year), but he excels at making contact. Not fast for a middle infielder but he can still steal some bags. Great makeup, kind of guy who just gets the job done. Here’s his scouting video.

My Take: I like the pick, good value in this round. The Yanks desperately need some middle infielders.

Outlook: I’m guessing he’ll head to Staten Island later in the month. Shouldn’t be tough to sign.

Categories : Draft
Comments (41)