Yankees rank 21st in Baseball Prospectus’ farm system rankings

Greg Bird is the word. (Presswire)
Greg Bird is the word. (Presswire)

Last week Baseball Prospectus posted their list of the top 101 prospects in baseball, and this week they followed with their annual farm system rankings. The Cubs predictably claim the top spot and are followed by the Twins and Dodgers. The Tigers bring up the rear and rank 30th.

The Yankees have the 21st ranked farm system in the game according to Baseball Prospectus, up two spots from last year. The rankings are free this year, so here’s the blurb on New York’s system:

State of the System: A spending spree last summer in the international market, the depths of which might force a change in the international spending structure, has turned the Yankees system into one of the most balanced in the game. There isn’t a ton of impact talent near the majors, though Aaron Judge is emerging as a key piece of the future, and Luis Severino is going to make an impact soon, though 10 different scouts will give you 10 different answers on how. Then there’s the youth movement from last summer, most of whom are still teenagers and won’t be seen in the big leagues for a half-decade, if at all, but could make for some of the most intriguing GCL teams in the league’s history.

Keith Law ranked the Yankees’ system 20th in the game, and in their 2015 Prospect Handbook, Baseball America ranked them 18th. The book went to press before the Domingo German trade, however, so that might change slightly when Baseball America posts their final rankings at some point in the coming weeks.

Either way, the consensus is the Yankees have a system right on the border of middle third and bottom third in the game. That’s because most of their top talent is still in Single-A and not close to big league ready. Close to MLB talent is the name of the game in farm system rankings. With Judge, Severino, Eric Jagielo and others set to move up a level this year, plus last summer’s international haul set to hit the system, the Yankees will inevitably move up in the organizational rankings next year.

Monday Night Open Thread

Earlier today, Jason Giambi announced his retirement from baseball after 20 years in the league, including seven with the Yankees. “I want to thank the fans for being a part of this incredible journey. I especially want to thank the fans that gave me a second chance to let me show you the human being you see today,” he said to Mark Feinsand. Giambi hit .277/.399/.516 (139 OPS+) with 440 homers overall and .260/.404/.521 (143 OPS+) with 209 homers in pinstripes. I loved ’em. So long, Giambino.

Here is the nightly open thread. The NBA is still in the middle of the All-Star break but the Rangers and Islanders are playing (each other!) and there’s college basketball on as well. Plus Better Call Saul is on tonight. I was skeptical going in but I really enjoyed the first two episodes. Anyway, talk about whatever here.

Yankees to retire Nos. 20, 46, 51 this season, honor Willie Randolph with plaque in Monument Park

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Gosh. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

After about 24 hours of rumors, the Yankees have made it official this afternoon. Nos. 20, 46, and 51 will be retired this season in honor of Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Bernie Williams, the team announced. Willie Randolph will also be honored with a plaque in Monument Park. The Yankees didn’t say anything about Derek Jeter in the press release. His day is probably coming in 2016.

Here are the dates for the individual ceremonies this summer:

  • Williams: Sunday, May 24th
  • Randolph: Saturday, June 20th (Old Timers’ Day)
  • Posada: Saturday, August 22nd
  • Pettitte: Sunday, August 23rd

We heard Pettitte’s number was being retired yesterday, when his son Josh spilled the beans. Earlier today we heard Posada and Williams were “likely” to have their numbers retired as well. The Yankees retired Joe Torre’s No. 6 last year, and when they made the official announcement, they said Bernie would be honored in some way this season. Now we know the details.

It goes without saying Posada, Bernie, and Pettitte are all deserving of having their numbers retired. All three are borderline Hall of Famers — Williams has already fallen off the ballot, however, and I think Posada has a better chance of getting in than Pettitte, personally — and were linchpins during the most recent Yankees dynasty. They’re all homegrown, they were all star-caliber performers … what’s not to love about that?

(Getty)
(Getty)

As for Randolph, it’s about damn time he is being honored. He was a catalyst atop New York’s lineup from 1976-88 and is the franchise’s all-time leader in games (1,694) and WAR (53.6) by a second baseman. As I wrote during Retro Week two weeks ago, Randolph’s path to greatness was unique for his era — he was an on-base guy and a defense-first player — but he was he was great nonetheless. The team isn’t retiring his old No. 30 but a plaque is a fine honor.

Once Jeter’s No. 2 is inevitably retired in a year or two, the Yankees will have officially closed the book on the most recent dynasty and honored all the deserving members in some way. Mariano Rivera and Torre had their numbers retired the last two years and both Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill received plaques in Monument Park last year. Once No. 2 is taken out of circulation, it figures to be a while until another number is retired or another plaque is added to Monument Park.

Nos. 51, 20, and 46 will be the 18th, 19th, and 20th retired numbers in team history, respectively. Nos. 1 (Billy Martin), 3 (Babe Ruth), 4 (Lou Gehrig), 5 (Joe DiMaggio), 6 (Torre), 7 (Mickey Mantle), 8 (Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey), 9 (Roger Maris), 10 (Phil Rizzuto), 15 (Thurman Munson), 16 (Whitey Ford), 23 (Don Mattingly), 32 (Elston Howard), 37 (Casey Stengel), 42 (Rivera and Jackie Robinson), 44 (Reggie Jackson), 49 (Ron Guidry) are all retired.

Previewing the Yanks’ few Spring Training position battles

Sixth starter or setup man? (Presswire)
Sixth starter or setup man? (Presswire)

Pitchers and catchers are set to report to Spring Training this Friday, though several Yankees players are already in Tampa preparing for the season according to reporters on site. It’s the guys you’d expect to show up to camp early — rehabbing players (Ivan Nova), players new to the organization (Nathan Eovaldi), and players trying to win a job in camp.

The Yankees don’t have many open roster spots, at least not on paper, but that doesn’t mean jobs aren’t up for grabs in Spring Training. Sometimes the job on the line is being the first guy called up when the inevitable injury strikes. Just look at Preston Claiborne two years ago. He didn’t win a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he put himself on the call-up map with a strong showing in camp. So, with Spring Training set to start later this week, let’s preview New York’s position battles.

Sixth Starter
Candidates: Adam Warren, Esmil Rogers, Bryan Mitchell

Every team needs a sixth and seventh and occasionally even eighth starter during the season, and the Yankees are more likely to need spare starters than most teams because of the injury risk in the rotation. Warren and Rogers were both told to come to Spring Training ready to work as starting pitchers and Mitchell has been a starter his entire minor league career. You don’t have to try real hard to envision a scenario in which one of these guys is in the rotation come Opening Day.

Warren did very nice work as a short reliever last year but came up through the minors as a starter. Rogers has both started and relieved in the past, and he worked as a swingman last year. Mitchell is a rookie with just a big league cup of coffee under his belt. Warren and Rogers are all but certain to open the season on the 25-man roster in some capacity and I’m sure the Yankees want both to be relievers. That means everyone in the rotation is healthy. Mitchell would go back to Triple-A to bide his time in that scenario.

If someone does get hurt in Spring Training and the Yankees do need a replacement starter, I think it would come down to who has the best camp. Not necessarily statistically, but who shows the Yankees they have the best chance of turning over a lineup three times. My guess is Warren would get the first chance to start if necessary, but I’m not all that confident in that pick. I am confident these guys are ahead of scrap heap signings Scott Baker and Kyle Davies on the rotation depth chart, however.

Seventh Reliever
Candidates: Lots

Whitley. (Presswire)
Whitley. (Presswire)

In a perfect world, Warren and Rogers would be in the Opening Day bullpen alongside Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, David Carpenter, and Justin Wilson. (Rogers would presumably be the long man in that scenario.) The seventh bullpen spot is wide open and the Yankees have no shortage of candidates on the 40-man roster: Danny Burawa, Jose DePaula, Chris Martin, Branden Pinder, Jose Ramirez, Chasen Shreve, and Chase Whitley. We should probably include Mitchell in there as well. Non-40-man roster candidates include Jacob Lindgren and Andrew Bailey.

At least one of those extra guys is going to make the roster as the seventh reliever. If Warren and/or Rogers are needed in the rotation, several of the extra arms will make the Opening Day roster to fill out the bullpen. And since there are so many viable seventh reliever candidates, I think it will come down to Spring Training performance. I don’t think handedness will matter one bit. And remember, just because someone wins a job in Spring Training, it doesn’t mean they keep it forever. If, say, Martin wins the last bullpen spot but has a 6.00 ERA two weeks into the season, the Yankees will swap him out for someone else. The seventh bullpen spot is always a revolving door.

Backup Catcher
Candidates: Austin Romine, John Ryan Murphy

Technically, this is a competition since nothing is final, but it’s widely believed Murphy will be the backup catcher come Opening Day. Everything points in that direction. Romine wasn’t all that impressive during his extended stint as Chris Stewart’s backup in 2013, and when the team needed a long-term fill-in for Frankie Cervelli last summer, Murphy got the call ahead of Romine. And, when they needed a third catcher after rosters expanded it September, it was again Murphy over Romine. That doesn’t mean Romine has nothing to play for in camp, of course.

“I want it. I want to go out there and prove to them that I want it. That’s why I’m here early and I just want to hit the ground running and go after it and bust my ass to make the team,” said Romine to Mark Feinsand last week. “(There are) a little more doors opening up with Cervelli gone now. Whatever happens, happens. I’m going to show them I want this.”

Romine is out of options, meaning he can’t go to Triple-A without first passing through waivers. That could happen but the Yankees have to proceed as if it won’t. That’s why they signed Eddy Rodriguez to a minor league deal. Even if he can’t beat out Murphy for the backup job, Romine is auditioning himself for other teams this spring, teams that could claim him off waivers before the start of the season or look to acquire him in a minor trade. This is the definition of a healthy competition, even if the job is basically Murphy’s to lose.

Ryan. (Patrick Smith/Getty)
Ryan. (Patrick Smith/Getty)

Last Bench Player
Candidates: Brendan Ryan, Jose Pirela, Rob Refsnyder

This is basically a “can either Pirela or Refsnyder convince the Yankees they’re better off paying Ryan his $2M salary to not play for them?” competition. I’m guessing no — Ryan’s ability to play shortstop is a hard to find skill with real value — but you know how it goes. Stranger things have happened. For what it’s worth, Brian Cashman insists Refsnyder will get a chance to win a job in camp.

“I can’t tell you he’s not Major League ready just yet,” said Cashman in a radio interview earlier month, according to Brendan Kuty. “The bottom line is, he’ll go into camp, and he’ll compete, and he’ll have a chance to potentially earn a spot on the roster … We’re all going to see that develop in Spring Training.”

The Yankees could opt for Pirela’s versatility or Refsnyder’s bat over Ryan’s defense, especially since Stephen Drew can cover Didi Gregorius at shortstop. There is a legitimate baseball reason to keep Ryan though. We can’t forget that. Depth at shortstop is necessary. Either way, we’re talking about the 25th man on the roster. This isn’t a decision that will make or break the season.

Reports: Yankees “likely” to retire Nos. 51 and 20 soon

(Primera Hora)
(Primera Hora)

Over the weekend, word got out the Yankees are planning to retire No. 46 and honor Andy Pettitte with a plaque in Monument Park this August. According to both Mark Feinsand and Andrew Marchand, the team is also planning to honor Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada at some point and are “likely” to retire Nos. 51 and 20.

The Yankees retired Joe Torre’s No. 6 last year and also dedicated monuments to Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill, and Goose Gossage. When they made those official announcements, the team said the “ceremonies are part of a recognition series that will include Bernie Williams in 2015,” so the Bernie news isn’t surprising. It’s unclear when Posada will be honored. Perhaps that won’t be until 2016.

Needless to say, both Williams and Posada are very deserving of having their numbers retired as homegrown star players, with Posada being a borderline Hall of Famer. (I’m not sure he’ll get in, but he has a case.) Both were key pieces of the most recent Yankees dynasty and all-around awesome players who helped create a generation of success for the franchise.

At some point soon the Yankees will retire No. 2 in honor of Derek Jeter. With Nos. 6 and 42 recently retired, Jeter, Pettitte, Bernie, and Posada are the team’s only obvious remaining candidates to have their numbers retired. (There’s zero chance No. 13 will be retired.) So while there are will be several ceremonies bunched together in the span of two or three years, they figure to be the last number retirement ceremonies for a while.

Fan Confidence Poll: January 16th, 2015

2014 Record: 84-78 (633 RS, 664 RA, 77-85 pythag. record), did not qualify for postseason

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?

Weekend Open Thread

Pitchers and catchers are one week away, folks. Spring Training is so close that we’re starting to see the usual early-camp puff stories. Brian McCann worked on beating the shift! Nathan Eovaldi is working hard on his breaking stuff! Michael Pineda can’t wait for the season to start! Ah, the joys of February. Here are the weekend links:

  • Here’s a must read piece from Ben Lindbergh on pitch-framing. Lindbergh explains he first learned about the true value of framing pitches as an intern with the Yankees a few years ago, when the Yankees stumbled across the data themselves. Make sure you check it out.
  • Alex Speier examined the gap between Triple-A and MLB and why it’s so difficult for position player prospects to make the jump and succeed right away. Long story short, teams have so much information these days and they know all about a player’s weaknesses before he even gets to the big leagues.
  • Great article by Sam Mellinger, who looks at an alternate universe in which the Royals don’t mount that incredible comeback to win the wildcard game last year. “Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking we were the best team in the American League,” said a team official. “We weren’t. We were one of them, but we didn’t even win our division.”
  • Sam Dykstra wrote about the speed of top minor league prospects, specifically looking at their speed tool from a scouting perspective compared to their statistical speed score. By Dykstra’s measure, Aaron Judge was one of the worst prospects at underperforming his speed tool in 2014.
  • Late Add: Make sure you check out Andrew McCutchen’s piece on baseball leaving lower-income families behind at The Players’ Tribune.

Friday: Here is your open thread for the night. The NBA starts their All-Star break tonight with the Rising Stars Challenge (9pm ET on TNT). The Devils are playing and there’s the usual slate of Friday night college hoops as well. Talk about anything and everything right here.

Saturday; Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. The NBA All-Star Skills Competition stuff is on tonight (8pm ET on TNT) and all three hockey locals are in action. There’s also some college basketball as well. This is your open thread, so talk about whatever.

Sunday: Once again, here is your open thread for the evening. The NBA All-Star Game is on (8pm ET on TNT) and there’s some college hoops going on as well. Talk about those games, No. 46 being retired, or anything else right here.