AzFL Peoria (6-4 win over Pheonix)
Austin Jackson: 0 for 4 - grounded into your garden variety 1-6-5-3-4-3 double play
Juan Miranda: 4 for 4, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI – he destroys this league
Kevin Russo: 0 for 1, 1 K – pinch hit late for the Reds’ Justin Turner

HWB Waikiki (4-0 loss to Waikiki in 7 innings) I give up, no friggin’ idea why they’re only playing 7 innings
Damon Sublett: 0 for 3, 1 K – first hitless game since coming to the islands
Andrew Brackman: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 3-3 GB/FB - only 38 of 77 pitches were strikes (49.4%) … in his chat today, Keith Law offered this up: “Brackman is pitching in Hawaii now, also with his old velocity and a good breaking ball, but with the usual command issues for a guy that recently off surgery” … so don’t freak out about the walks, it’s normal for a guy this far out from TJ

Frankie Cervelli & Carlos Mendoza will be suiting up for Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason. High-A Tampa manager Luis Sojo will manage the team, and old pal Ramiro Mendoza will work out of the bullpen.

Caribbean League rosters are slowly trickling in, I’ll keep you updated where guys are playing.

Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (46)

Both League Championship Series this year are a lesson in player development. The Dodgers flat-out dominated the Cubs using a lineup featuring four homegrown players and a pitching staff again centered around in-house arms. The Phils are built very much in the same way, with five homegrown position players starting for them, as well as staff co-aces Cole Hamels & Brett Myers.

Don’t even get me started with the Rays and Red Sox. Stay the course, built from within. Looks where it gets you.

Just a quick roster note, the Dodgers removed ex-closer Takashi Saito from the playoff roster and replaced him with lights out lefty reliever Hong-Chih Kuo. Saito’s status was questionable because of ongoing elbow troubles, and Kuo (who had a ridiculous season) gives them a third southpaw in the pen (Kershaw & Beimel are the others) to battle Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

First pitch is scheduled for 8:22pm; Joe Buck & Tim McCarver have the call on FOX. Talk it up here.

Los Angeles
1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Andre Ethier, RF
3. Manny Ramirez, LF
4. Russ Martin, C
5. James Loney, 1B
6. Matt Kemp, CF
7. Casey Blake, 3B
8. Blake DeWitt, 2B
9. Derek Lowe, P (14-11, 3.24)

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Pat Burrell, LF
6. Jayson Werth, RF
7. Pedro Feliz, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Cole Hamels, P (14-10, 3.09)

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (349)
  • How would you rather see the Sox lose?

    We’re gearing up for Game 1 of the NLCS this evening, and a game thread is forthcoming. However, in the interim hours, I’d like to discuss an issue I’ve come across a few times today. A number of my friends said they’d like to see the Sox beat the Rays, but get beat by the Sox- and Yanks-alum-filled Dodgers in the World Series. I expressed that I’d rather see the upstart Rays take care of business now, rather than banking on an NL team to beat a powerhouse AL team.

    So what’s more important to everyone? That the Sox lose in general, or that they lose to the Dodgers in the World Series?
    · (63) ·

  • A matter of ratings

    It’s all about the numbers for baseball and TV, and this year, the numbers aren’t looking so hot. TBS’s Division Series rounds saw a ratings drop of 20 percent over 2007. While it’s easy to think that the lack of New York teams is to blame, both Los Angeles and Chicago, two of the biggest media markets in the country, had two teams in the first round. Mostly, politics — the Biden/Palin debate was on during two games — and lackluster games are to blame.

    On the Yankee front, Richard Sandomir reports that Yankee ratings were down 10 percent this year. While fans went to the stadium for its final year, the folks at home weren’t so keen on watching a third-place team lumber through the season this year.
    · (7) ·


RAB Live Chat

By in Chats. · Comments (15) ·
Categories : Chats
Comments (15)

After a quick tour through the Yankees fall instructional league, seventh-round pick Kyle Higashioka is heading back to his home in southern California. The team has high hopes for the prep school catcher who, like most high school draftees, is a raw product now. He’ll begin his first full season in pro ball next year, likely starting out at Low-A Charleston, which saw two excellent catching prospects pass through this year in Austin Romine and Jesus Montero. So a once barren system in terms of catching talent is starting to fill out. writer Jonathan Mayo has some info on Higashioka up at the official site.

In the quotes department, Higashioka is a lot like catching brother Crash Davis. He comes off as positive, eager, yet unoffensive, which is basically the formula for speaking to the press these days.

“A bunch of people told me how hard it’s going to be once I get into full-season ball,” he said. “I’ll try to get as strong as I can, and keep working on my hitting and catching, maintaining quickness as well as strength. I want to come to Spring Training in really great shape and impress all the coaches and staff, so hopefully they put me in the full-season level.”

“There are certain things that are different in professional baseball that I wasn’t accustomed to,” Higashioka said. “This minicamp helped me adjust to the lifestyle of playing professional baseball.”

Known mostly for his slick defense, he could still be a force with the bat. It’s tough to tell when they’re still 18 years old and not fully developed physically. The Yanks paid $500,000 to keep him away from Cal, so clearly they see something in him. He’ll definitely be one to watch in the 2009 edition of DotF.

Categories : Minors
Comments (15)
  • McCarver bashes Manny for Boston departure

    On the eve of the NLCS between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers, FOX broadcaster extraordinaire Tim McCarver ripped into Manny Ramirez. Said the former player, “Some of the things he did were simply despicable, despicable – like not playing, refusing to play. Forgetting what knee to limp on. And now it’s washed, it’s gone.”

    Update: Joe Sheehan takes McCarver to task for these comments. While McCarver is certainly free to hold his opinions on Ramirez, some of the facts he asserts in the Inquirer interview are flat-out wrong.
    · (28) ·

Can a player be too devoted to a team? Can a player’s devotion to a team and his willingness to play through an injury no matter how severe be a detriment? Of course, it can, and this year, the Yanks learned that the hard way.

By his standards, Derek Jeter got off to a slow start. Through May 18, Jeter had been to the 167, and while he was hitting .314, his OBP was just .349 and he was slugging just .429. With just 11 extra-base hits to his name, Jeter was not having the MVP season his teammates had predicted in Spring Training.

Then, on May 20, in a game in which a Jeter error led to six unearned runs, disaster in the form of a Daniel Cabrera fastball struck. Jeter had to leave the game in the third inning, and while X-Rays were negative, the next few weeks were not kind to the Yankee short stop. Between May 20 and June 14 — a span of 111 plate appearances — Jeter hit .198/.291/.292 with 14 runs scored, five extra-base hits and seven RBIs. It would be a brutal 25 games for the Yankee Captain.

After June 14, Jeter turned it all around. He hit .323/.390/.430 over his last 390 plate appearances, and while another HBP against the Orioles ended his season a few days early, he pulled down a .300/.363/.408 line on the year. But Jeter those numbers pale in comparison with his .316/.387/.458 mark. He didn’t score 100 runs for the first time since his injury-shortened 2003 campaign, and he notched full-season career lows in doubles, home runs and hits.

Sabermetrically, Jeter’s numbers were down this year as well. His runs created per game dipped from 6.3 to 5.0. His VORP dropped from 53.3 to 37.5, and his win shares declined from 24 to 18. Overall, his subpar season didn’t impact the team that much; his contributions declined by about two wins over the course of a full season. But if we assume that Jeter was indeed hurt by Cabrera’s fastball, his decision to play through the pain did not help the Yankees this year.

Of course, Jeter’s bad 25 games could have just been that. Perhaps, he just hit a slump, and the HBP was merely coincidental. And perhaps Jeter’s delince, at age 34, isn’t to be unexpected. He’s on the downside of what has been a very productive career. Over the next few seasons, the Yanks will have to grapple with a lot of Derek Jeter-related questions. He’s not really fit for short stop, and his contract will soon end. The team is still relying on him to be that linchpin out of the two hole, and soon we’ll see if that decision may not be the best for the future of the team.

Categories : Analysis
Comments (64)

RAB live chat tomorrow, I’m thinking 2pm EDT so our west coast friends can get in on the action. Here’s our past chats.

AzFL Peoria (8-7 win over Surprise)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K – in addition to driving in the Javelinas’ seventh run, he was at the plate when a wild pitch allowed the game winning run to score
Jeff Marquez: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1-3 GB/FB – 18 of 28 pitches were strikes (64.3%) … don’t read too much into him pitching in relief, the team is carrying 21 pitchers, they all can’t start

HWB Waikiki (3-1 loss to Honolulu in 7 innings) not sure why they played only 7 innings again, as radnom suggested yesterday, maybe it was a volcano?
Damon Sublett: 1 for 3, 2 K – still hasn’t gone hitless in a game
Austin Romine: 0 for 2

Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (24)

While it’s nice and trendy to blame the pitching for the Yanks’ woes this year, the fact is they did score nearly 200 fewer runs this year than last (179 to be exact). We’re used to powerhouse offenses that feature multiple 100 RBI guys (they had two this year) and about five or six 20 homerun hitters (three), but it just wasn’t meant to be this year. Injuries, subpar years and general suckiness were the main culprits.

While it’s clear the Yanks will look to make a splash on the pitching front, their offense will need a pretty significant upgrade, especially if Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu are allowed to take their stout OPS+’s elsewhere as free agents.

Enter: Mark Teixeria. And … uh … Manny Ramirez.

Both players offer what the Yanks need – the ability to hit for average, hit for power, and get on base like it’s going out of style – but best of all they’ll come at the cost of just money, no other players need to get involved. Manny’s Hall of Fame caliber resume leaves no question that he’ll be an impact player, and Teixeira’s just entering what should be the best years of his career. Neither guy will come cheaply, and even the Yanks have their financial limits, so it’ll come down to one or the other.

So what would you prefer: Tex on a 7 yrs, $154M deal, or Manny at 4/88? Your call, play nice.

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (165)