Minor League Opening Day

The minor league season kicks off today, here’s how the Yanks’ affiliates open up:

Triple-A Scranton vs. Norfolk Tides (Nats O’s) at 7:00 pm. Clippard vs. ?

Double-A Trenton vs. Bowie Bay Sox (Orioles) at 7:05 pm. Pitchers TBA, but I’m guessing either Brett Smith or Alan Horne gets the ball.

High-A Tampa
@ Lakeland Tigers (7:00 pm) to take on Cameron Maybin. Pitchers TBA, but the feeling here is Ian Kennedy will be pitching.

Low-A Charleston vs. Greenville Astros (7:05 pm). Pitchers TBA, but I’m all but certain Tim Norton will be starting.

Down on the Farm will be making it’s long awaited triumphant return tomorrow. If you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s a sample. Check out that Matt DeSalvo pitching line.

Update: The AAA Norfolk team is the Orioles affiliate, not the Nationals. My mistake.

Cramps, strain, what’s the difference?

We must be the last Yankee outlet to mention this, but yeah, Johnny Damon‘s reported cramps from Monday are, uh, it’s a bit worse. Word now is a strain. Damon’s scheduled downgrade to “slight tear” is sometime around noon tomorrow.

Also mentioned in the article is the return of Ron Villone. He inked a minor league deal today, leaving us fans to wonder if we’re ever going to get rid of this guy.

This means war

It seems that some people don’t like that I rated Tyler Clippard as the Yanks 12th best prospect, but in fact, if it wasn’t for a string of elbow surgeries, he’d have been 15th.

No, I do not have a personal vendetta against the one you so affectionately call T-Clip, there’s just some things about the kid that concern me. But before I get into that, check out the 10 most similar players to Clippard via First Inning’s FIPro (which uses some fancy sabermetric stuff, which I’m sure some people will appreciate):

Beltran Perez
John Stephens
Jarod Matthews
Derrick Van Dusen
Steven Shell
Kris Honel
Jimmy Gobble
James Tiller
Bobby Keppel

Hmmm, interesting. And just who the hell are those people? Jimmy Gobble is the Royals swingman and is surprisingly good at what he does, but the rest of the lot? All but Tiller were once highly thought of prospects, but now they aren’t even has beens, they’re never wases. They all share one thing in common though: ace stats in the minors, average stuff, failed to reach their ceilings. Okay, so that’s 3 things in common.

EJ’s usually great with facts and such, but he makes a gross error here:

Tyler Clippard does not rely on deception.

Contrare, monfrare. I present to you Tyler Clippard’s delivery:

[Read more…]

Minor League rosters

As Joe mentioned earlier, Triple-A Scranton’s roster is basically set. Same deal with Double-A Trenton and Low-A Charleston. I’m glad to the see the Yanks took the right approach with Eduardo Nunez and Austin Jackson, leaving them at Charleston so they can get themselves together as opposed to rushing them. I do think they’re making a mistake by sending Tim Norton to Charleston instead of High-A Tampa, but it will be fun to see him put up 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K lines until he’s promoted.

Speaking of High-A Tampa, via the highly scientific process of elimination I can tell you that Tampa’s rotation is going to consist of George Kontos, Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, and 2 guys to be named later (I’m thinking Zack Kroenke and relievers until Lance Pendleton is ready in late April, but just imagine if Christian Garcia was healthy). The lineup will have (in no particular order) Colin Curtis, Marcos Vechionacci, Jose Tabata, Ben Jones, Juan Miranda and Tim Battle, amongst others.

Forget about Scranton, that team in Tampa is going to be stacked.  Like 2005 Jacksonville Suns stacked.

Which team would you choose?

We usually leave matters like this to Mike, but I saw Scranton’s Opening Day roster, and I couldn’t resist.

Phil Hughes SP Zach Duke
Tyler Clippard SP Ian Snell
Ross Ohlendorf SP Paul Maholm
Matt DeSalvo SP Tom Gorzelanny
Steven Jackson SP Tony Armas, Jr.
Chris Britton SP Solomon Torres
T.J. Beam SP Matt Capps
Colter Bean SP Damaso Marte
Justin Pope SP Jonah Bayliss
Charlie Manning SP Juan Perez
Ben Kozlowski SP Jon Wadin
Raul Chavez C Ronny Paulino
Eric Duncan 1B Adam LaRoche
Chris Basak 2B Jose Castillo
Alberto Gonzalez SS Jack Wilson
Andy Phillips 3B Freddie Sanchez
Kevin Reese LF Jason Bay
Kevin Thompson CF Chris Duffy
Bronson Sardinha RF Xavier Nady

It may net me a worse record this year, but overall, I’m taking the team on the left. As much as I like Duke, Gorzelanny, and Capps, Scranton’s rotation has a much higher ceiling.

I would have done this comparison with the Nationals…but that would have been a slam dunk.