Spring Training Game Thread: The Future

I suspect we'll get to see Mr. Venditte today. (Photo Credit: Charlie Riedel, AP)

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been waiting for this day all spring. The Yankees will play a friendly exhibition against their top prospects this afternoon, so we’ll get to see Jesus Montero attempt to go shot-for-shot with Alex Rodriguez, Slade Heathcott roam the same swath of grass as Curtis Granderson, and David Adams try to out-line drive Robbie Cano. The only guy who won’t be there is CC Sabathia, as tomorrow’s starter went up to Boston ahead of everyone else.

The nine players in the Yanks’ lineup will combine to make roughly $112,275,000  in 2010. The Future Stars’ lineup cost a total of $8.5M or so in signing bonuses, with Heathcott accounting for roughly one-fourth of that. I expect it to be a blood bath. Here’s the lineups…

Derek Jeter, SS
Jorge Posada, C
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Swisher, DH
Granderson, CF
Winn, RF
Gardner, LF

Javy Vazquez, SP

Future Stars
Slade Heathcott, CF
Corban Joseph, 3B
Jesus Montero, C
David Adams, 2B
J.R. Murphy, DH
Colin Curtis, LF
Bradley Suttle, 1B
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Melky Mesa, RF

Jon Albaladejo, SP

Chad Jennings has the rest of the pitchers and position players that are available. There’s a whole lot of ’em.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm ET, and yes, the game will be broadcast on YES. After today, the games count.

Yankees bring back Chad Moeller

Via Chad Jennings, the Yanks have brought back veteran catcher Chad Moeller on a minor league deal. With the team’s top three catchers nursing minor injuries, Moeller gives the team a familiar face and some depth in Triple-A. He’ll also mentor Jesus Montero, and CJ says the team is expected to release Mike Rivera.

I thought Moeller did a great job for the Yanks back in 2008, but his .287 wOBA tells a different story. Something about understanding the facts and not letting your memory trick you in believing something goes here…

Saturday Morning Links: Organizational Rankings, Five Questions, Stadium

Here’s some links to kill the time until the Yanks take on their top prospects this afternoon…

Yankees top FanGraphs’ Organizational Rankings

At long last, the crew at FanGraphs revealed the top ranked team in their 2010 organizational rankings, and it’s none other than our beloved Bombers. It’s a short three part series that features discussions about the team’s current talent, it’s future talent, and an overall wrapup. “We talk about dominant eras in sports history,” said wrapper upper Dave Cameron of USS Mariner fame. “The Brian Cashman-era Yankees are going to take their spot someday, because with the way the organization is structured, they’re going to be scary good for the foreseeable future. This is what happens when you spend $200 million really, really well.”

THT’s Five Questions

As part of their Five Questions series, Dan Turkenkopf of The Hardball Times answer five of the most pressing questions facing the boys from the Bronx. He talks about the team’s potential vulnerability to lefthanded pitchers, the New Stadium, Jesus Montero, the budget, and perhaps the most pressing question of all: will they repeat?

Looking at the homerun rate at the New Stadium

We’ve talked about this ad nauseum, but I’m mentioning this here because it was written by our own Joe Pawlikowski and featured at ESPN’s TMI Blog. Essentially, after watching balls leave the park at an unfathomable rate last April, the number of homeruns hit at the New Stadium dropped off big time during the summer, especially once the Yankees’ pitchers figured out how to how to pitch in the place. It’s Insider only, but go check it out if you haven’t already.

BA’s three year talent rankings

The crew at Baseball America put together a set of rankings based on how much talent each team has produced in the last three years. The Diamondbacks predictably top the list after seeing players like Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, and Brett Anderson come through their system, but the Yanks come in at number ten, not bad considering how they always get knocked for not producing players. Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes were the number four starter and primary setup man for a World Series Champion last year, respectively, and that’s no small feat.

The Mets, meanwhile, came in dead last. That’s what happens when the best player you’ve developed in the last three years is Mike Pelfrey.

BA’s prospect rankings by positions

Another Baseball America link for you, this time they’ve ranked all the prospects in the game by position. Jesus Montero was atop the catcher list, while Austin Romine came in at number 12 and Gary Sanchez number 22. The Blue Jays, Indians, and Giants were the only other teams with multiple catchers on the 25 man list, all with two. Slade Heathcott was number 12 among centerfielders, two spots ahead of Reymond Fuentes, who the Red Sox drafted one spot before the Yanks took Slade last year. Zach McAllister was 34th among right starters, Manny Banuelos 22nd among lefties.

Open Thread: Calm before the storm

Photo Credit: Brian Blanco, AP

The Yankees’ 2010 exhibition season is officially over; all that’s left is tomorrow’s friendly game against a handful of the team’s top prospects. They finished the Grapefruit League season at 13-15 with a few ties mixed in, and escaped Florida relatively healthy. Spring Training stats don’t mean a thing, but let’s look at some leaders…

Batters (min. 20 at-bats)
AVG: Jon Weber, .452
OBP: Jorge Posada, .463
SLG: Mark Teixeira, .596
Hits: Robbie Cano, 20
HR: Nick Johnson & Teixeira, 3 each
RBI: Cano, 12
BB: Johnson, 13
SB: Ramiro Pena, 3

Pitchers (min. 8 IP)
ERA: Boone Logan, 1.74
WHIP: Logan, 0.58
K: Phil Hughes, 20
BB: Andy Pettitte, 2
GB/FB: Pettitte, 4.25

Small samples sizes and nothing really interesting. Meh. The season can’t start soon enough.

Here’s tonight’s open thread. The Devils, Rangers, and Knicks are all in action, and the Rangers’ game is tremendously important in terms of their playoff chances. Talk about whatever you want, just be cool.

Oh, and make sure you don’t miss the 2010 RAB Pledge Drive.

Spring Training Health Report: Johnson, Aceves, Catchers

Earlier today we found out that Damaso Marte has a cranky shoulder, but that’s not the extent of the Yankees’ injury woes. Nick Johnson left today’s game in the first inning after fouling a pitch of his right knee, and has been diagnosed with a bone bruise. He won’t do anything tomorrow, but is confident that he’ll be in the lineup Sunday night against the Red Sox. After battling a sore lower back, Al Aceves threw an inning in a minor league game today and felt fine, but the team is going to wait and see how he feels tomorrow before determining his status for the regular season opener.

Last but certainly not least, the Yankees’ top three catchers all appear to be on the mend. Jorge Posada‘s stiff neck is doing well and there’s a chance he’ll play tomorrow, while Frankie Cervelli‘s hamstring feels better. He won’t play tomorrow, but caught in the bullpen and took some swings in batting practice today. Third string Mike Rivera started today for the first time in two weeks after dealing with a hamstring of his own, and he even picked up a hit to raise his spring average to .167. Minor bumps and bruises all around, let’s just be thankful it’s nothing more serious.

The Montero Watch

All hail the Jesus. (Photo Credit: Kathy Willens, AP)

Oh yes, we’re going big this year.

If you’re a new relatively new reader, then let me explain. Every season we select one prospect to follow as the season progresses, tracking their stats in the sidebar for all to revel in. Past “watch” subjects include players like Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Mark Melancon, and Andrew Brackman, but for the first time ever, this year’s subject will be a position player, and there really wasn’t much of a debate.

Catcher Jesus Montero is not just the Yanks’ top prospect, but he’s arguably the best prospect at the position in all of baseball. Last year he hit a studly .337-.389-.562 with 25 doubles and 17 homers in 92 games split between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. Now that he’s reached his 20th birthday, the Yankees will finally unleash his fury on the unsuspecting Triple-A International League.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees start their season next Thursday, April 8th, against the Buffalo Bisons at home. As if Montero needed any more help, he’ll get to kick off his season by pounding on some Mets’ minor leaguers. Hide the women and children folks, it might get ugly in a hurry if you live upstate.

Once the actual “watch” goes up on the sidebar, probably Sunday or Monday in place of the Opening Day Countdown, you’ll see two rows of stats. The top one will be Montero’s performance form his most recent game, and the bottom one will be his season performance. It’s pretty simple, but it’s always worth typing out.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this year’s choice. I suspect there won’t be any objections.

Spring Training Game Thread: Grapefruit League Finale

Photo Credit: Kathy Willens, AP

At long last, the Yankees wrap up their official Spring Training schedule today. Tomorrow they’ll play a friendly game against their top prospects before heading to Boston to kick off the 2010 regular season against those small market Red Sox.

Andy Pettitte takes the mound today with just four official innings to his name because he’s had to deal with an inordinate number of rainouts. Most of his work has come in simulated or minor league games. Don’t worry, it’s bright and sunny in Tampa today, so the game with definitely be played. There aren’t any position battles to decide or roster spots left to be won, so this game is all about getting some work in and not getting hurt. Here’s the starting nine…

Jeter, SS
Johnson, DH
Teixeira, 1B
A-Rod, 3B
Cano, 2B
Swisher, RF
Granderson, CF
Gardner, LF
Mike Rivera, C

Scheduled Pitchers: Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. Damaso Marte was supposed to go, but his shoulder is acting up. Boone Logan, Grant Duff, Amaury Sanit, and Josh Schmidt are also available.

Also scheduled to play: Francisco Arcia, Juan Miranda, Luis Nunez, Ramiro Pena, P.J. Pilittere, Austin Romine, Justin Snyder, Marcus Thames, Jon Weber, and Randy Winn.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm ET and can be seen on both YES and ESPN. After the jump is today’s chat, so join in.

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