(Bob Levey/Getty)

(Bob Levey/Getty)

The Astros have been baseball’s worst team for three straight years and there’s little reason to think they will be substantially better in 2014. And yet, they are on the verge of sweeping the big bad Yankees. Everyone outside New York is loving this. The Yankees can’t worry about any of that though. They just need to grab a win tonight to avoid the sweep and a disappointing post-game flight up to Toronto.

The lineup has a new look tonight, though nothing crazy and it’s not a response to the last two games. Brian McCann is sitting against the lefty Brett Oberholtzer, and so are Kelly Johnson and Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury is fine, it’s just a scheduled day off as they look to keep him healthy following his little calf problem late in camp. With three games on the Rogers Centre turf coming up, sitting him tonight isn’t a bad idea. It’s too early in the season to push guys physically. Here is the Astros’ lineup and here is Joe Girardi‘s starting lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. LF Alfonso Soriano
  6. C Frankie Cervelli
  7. 2B Brian Roberts
  8. RF Ichiro Suzuki
  9. 3B Yangervis Solarte
    RHP Ivan Nova

It’s hot and humid in Houston, though not as hot as the last few days. It’s also been raining on and off for most of the day, but again, Minute Maid Park has a retractable roof. They’re playing tonight no matter what. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10pm ET (/shakes fist) and you can watch the game on YES. Try to enjoy.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (308)
  • Yankees rank 13th in Baseball America’s farm system rankings
    By

    Baseball America published their updated farm system rankings yesterday (subs. req’d), which were topped by the Pirates. Even with RHP Gerrit Cole graduated to MLB, they still have a pretty stacked system. The Red Sox and Twins round out the top three while the Brewers and Angels predictably rank 29th and 30th, respectively. They never seem to have good farm systems.

    The Yankees rank 13th, though that is because Baseball America considers RHP Masahiro Tanaka a prospect. Both Keith Law (#20) and Baseball Prospectus (#23) ranked them lower without Tanaka, understandably. “[Tanaka's] acquisition masks a down year from the system last year at the upper levels. New York’s volume approach internationally, plus three first-rounders in a potentially strong 2013 draft, infused talent to the lower levels,” said the write-up, which also listed RHP Bryan Mitchell as a sleeper. The minor league season begins today.
    · (16) ·

(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

The start of the season has a way of magnifying things. We can’t help it. We’ve been baseball starved for months and while Spring Training is fun in its own way, it can’t compare to meaningful games. Once the season starts and we see new faces in new uniforms, we get excited and look at things a little too deeply. I did it just this morning. If that CC Sabathia start happens any other day of the year, I probably wouldn’t think twice about it.

That same idea applies to the offense. The Yankees haven’t hit a lick these last two days, especially against Astros starters Scott Feldman and Jarred Cosart (combined 11.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K). New York’s offense went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position last night and 2-for-8 in those spots on Opening Day. Few things are are frustrating as stranding runners. The much-hyped outfield is hitting a combined .103 with a .212 OBP while the oft-criticized infield has hit .278 with a .350 OBP. Up is down, black is white, nothing makes sense anymore.

That’s because the season is two games old. The Yankees as a team have had 73 plate appearances so far. That’s a small amount for a single player, nevermind an entire team. If these last two games happened in the middle of June — and trust me, they’ll stop hitting for a few games several times this year, that’s baseball — we’d notice but not think much about it. Because it’s the start of the season, it’s a Really Big Deal.

“We’re going to be fine, man. We haven’t been able to put anything together offensively, but we have what it takes to play better and win ballgames. We don’t need to worry about it,” said Carlos Beltran to Mark Feinsand after last night’s game. “That’s part of when a team is cold. Sometimes you put a few guys in scoring position and you have difficulties getting those guys in. It’s just the second game of the season. It’s important to win and every win counts, but we’ve had good pitching from them, so you have to give credit for what they’ve been doing.”

I mean, of course there’s a chance the Yankees really do stink offensively despite all the new additions. That’s always possibility but I find it very hard to believe. Jacoby Ellsbury (calf) and Alfonso Soriano (flu, shoulder) were behind the other position players in camp because of injuries, Mark Teixeira (wrist) and Derek Jeter (legs) are coming back from lost seasons, so it’s no surprise they look rusty. The offense has positively stunk these last two games, but it has been just that, two games. It’s annoying but hardly a cause for concern at this point.

Categories : Offense
Comments (52)
(Stacy Revere/Getty)

(Stacy Revere/Getty)

The Yankees designated Eduardo Nunez for assignment on Tuesday, giving them ten days to trade him, release him, or slip him through waivers. That is down to eight days now, and considering the waiver process takes three days, it’s really more like five days. This situation could be resolved before the start of next week.

According to Marly Rivera, the Astros and Mariners* are among the teams with interest in Nunez. The middle infield bar is pretty low around the league right now, especially at shortstop, so I figured there would be some interest. That the Yankees couldn’t work out a trade before designating him suggests interest isn’t that high though. For what it’s worth, George King hears Nunez is expected to wind up elsewhere, either through a trade or waivers.

* As you surely remember, the Mariners wanted Nunez as part of the failed Cliff Lee trade a few years ago, so their interest now is not surprising.

Since he’s been designated for assignment, Nunez has pretty much zero trade value. He had very little trade value before being removed from the 40-man roster, but this clinches it. The Yankees forced their own hand with the move and other teams know they have to move him. That’s the way the DFA game has been and always will be. If they were to ship him to the Astros or Mariners, the likely return would be a nondescript non-40-man minor leaguer, cash, or a player to be named later. Don’t get your hopes up.

Nunez, 26, has hit .267/.313/.379 (86 wRC+) in parts of four seasons, in a league where the average shortstop put up a … wait for it … 86 wRC+ from 2010-13. His offense isn’t the problem, especially since he can steal bases on top of the league average-ish production. The issue has been and always be his defense, which hasn’t improved after years and years of work. This has been a career long problem and his career started in 2005.

The Yankees are short on shortstops right now, especially with Brendan Ryan hurt. Derek Jeter appears to be healthy and is moving fine in the field, but at age 39, he’s not someone who can play the position day after day. Joe Girardi‘s going to mix in some DH days every once in a while. He has to. Dean Anna is the backup shortstop, Yangervis Solarte the emergency backup, and the Triple-A starter is Carmen Angelini according to Chad Jennings. (Addison Maruszak was released yesterday according to Donnie Collins.) The 25-year-old Angelini had a 73 wRC+ at Double-A Trenton last year, so yeah.

Even though his defense is nightmarish, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if Nunez slipped through waivers and went to Triple-A (he can’t elect free agency since it would be his first outright assignment), at least until Ryan returns. The Astros and Mariners and whoever else probably won’t give up anything of value for him in a trade, so keeping Nunez around as an emergency backup plan is better than losing him for nothing. Especially with no shortstop at Triple-A. If he doesn’t stick around, they’ll have to find someone just like him to stash in the minors.

Categories : Hot Stove League
Comments (60)
(Scott Halleran/Getty)

(Scott Halleran/Getty)

The Yankees dropped their season-opener to the Astros on Tuesday for more than a few reasons, including a rebuilt offense that didn’t show up until about the seventh inning. CC Sabathia shoulders most of the blame because he was awful, allowing six runs in six innings. Doesn’t matter who you’re playing, climbing out of a 6-0 hole is tough for any lineup.

That game really was a tale of two Sabathias. He was abysmal in those first two innings, allowing all six runs on six hits, including two homers and two doubles. Over his final four innings, Sabathia kept Houston off the board and held them to a walk and two singles, one of which didn’t leave the infield. Five of his six strikeouts came in those final four innings and only one of the 14 batters he faced after the second hit the ball in the air. Sabathia was terrible the first two innings and pretty damn good the final four.

As I mentioned yesterday, the mid-start turn-around was so drastic that you have to think some kind of adjustment was made. Maybe Sabathia did it on his own, maybe pitching coach Larry Rothschild pointed something out, maybe it was Brian McCann. We’ve seen CC struggle early in a start before figuring it out before, so Opening Day wasn’t that unique, but it was especially noticeable on Tuesday. For what it’s worth, Sabathia chalked it up to adrenaline.

“It got out of hand early,” said CC to Chad Jennings after the game. “That’s been the toughest thing for me. I do get so excited. I feel like I’m a kid again. I would sleep in my uniform if I could the night before Opening Day. I think it’s just the nervousness, the jitters, wanting to start the season off good so bad, I end up pitching bad.”

It’s very possible Sabathia’s adjustment was simply calming down, but whatever it was, it should show up in the results somewhere. His velocity held steady all game — his fastball averaged 89.7 mph on Tuesday, down from 90.3 mph on Opening Day last year — and while Sabathia said he starting throwing his new cutter in the later innings, PitchFX didn’t pick any up. Maybe the system is broke, maybe the cutting action was so big they were classified as sliders. Who knows?

Whenever Sabathia struggles, it seems like it’s because he misses his location. That sounds obvious, I know. Sure, he gives up the occasional hit on a pitcher’s pitch like everyone else, but the Astros punished him early because he was missing out over the plate. I’m going to point this out again:

Jesus Guzman L.J. Hoes homers

Those are the homers by Jesus Guzman (left) and L.J. Hoes (right). Dexter Fowler swatted a similar pitch to center, leading off the game with a double. Belt high offerings right out over the plate. That’s no way to pitch.

So did Sabathia’s location improve in innings three through six? To the PitchFX data:

Sabathia Opening Day Location

Just to be clear, that is looking from the catcher’s perspective.

I was hoping there would be a big blob of blue pitches over the middle of the pitches and a bunch of red on the edges, but no dice. That would have been cool. Sabathia threw 99 pitches in the start, including 50 in the first two innings and 49 in the final four, so the sample is split right down the middle. That’s convenient. There are two things going on in this graph that I want to look at specifically, so let’s make life easy:

Sabathia Opening Day Location1

Like I said, two things I want to look at, hence the colored ovals. To the details:

Yellow Oval: The Astros had eight right-handed or switch hitters in the lineup, so these pitches are more or less in the wheelhouse. Belt high and right out over the plate. Sabathia threw seven pitches in this general area in the first two innings, resulting in the two homers, Fowler’s double, Jason Castro’s run-scoring fielder’s choice, a foul ball, a called strike, and a swing and a miss. In innings three through six, he threw only two pitches in this area, getting a foul ball and a swing and miss. If you want to count that one extra pitch at the top of the zone that’s hiding under the yellow oval, that’s another swing and miss. So yes, Sabathia did a better job of staying out of the danger zone in those final four innings.

Blue Oval (or cyan, whatever): I’m not going to count pitches and look at individual results here. I’m pointing this part of the strike zone out because it’s the outer half of the plate and generally the bottom half of the zone. With those eight righty bats in the lineup, that where you’d want a left-hander to pitch, down and away. Sabathia didn’t throw too many pitches down there in the first two innings — he was really all over the place in those two innings, geez — but he did a much better job of locating the ball down and away in his final four innings. Getting the ball out of the wheelhouse and instead burying it down there is a surefire way to improve performance.

Location is very important but it is just one piece of the pitching pie. I also want to look at whether Sabathia changed up his pitch mix as the game progressed, so here’s the breakdown:

Batters Faced 1st Pitch FB FB% CH% SL%
Innings 1-2 13 6 40.0% 24.0% 36.0%
Innings 3-6 14 9 55.1% 20.4% 24.5%

That is … the exact opposite of what I expected. I thought Sabathia would have thrown fewer fastballs and particularly fewer first-pitch fastballs in those last four innings. Instead, he threw more fastballs than he did earlier in the game. He really pounded the zone with his heater late. Very surprising, at least to me. I guess he just got into a groove and was better able to drive the ball down and away to all those righties.

At some point between the second and third innings, something happened that helped Sabathia better locate his pitches, particularly his fastball. The PitchFX data confirms this. We have Point A (innings 1-2) and Point B (innings 3-6), but no knowledge of Sabathia got there. Maybe he did just calm down. Maybe it really is that simple. I can’t help but think some kind of mechanical adjustment was made, something that helped him get the ball down and get it on the outer half of the plate against righties.

“I just think it was a matter of relaxing. I didn’t want to go out and overthrow and be all over the place, but I think backing off didn’t help either so I got to find a place in the middle where I can pitch good,” said Sabathia to Jennings and Jorge Castillo. “I’ve got 34, hopefully, more starts left. I’m definitely not going to pitch like I did tonight in the first two innings. I know I can pitch, and I know I can get guys out. I feel great. I’m not going to beat myself up about this.”

Sabathia has always been super-accountable and when he struggled last year, he crushed himself after every start. Tuesday though? Eh, no big deal, I’ll be fine. I wonder if that is a function of knowing the problem and knowing how to solve it. Sabathia stunk last year and he always seemed to be looking for a fix. There were no answers and he as clearly frustrated. This year, it seems like he knows what was wrong in those first two innings and knows the solution. He found it in the middle of the start. That he didn’t tear into himself after the game may be an indication that is the case.

Let’s not try to soften the blow here, Sabathia was terrible overall on Opening Day. He didn’t give the Yankees much of a chance at all. That he turned it around literally between innings and settled down is encouraging. We don’t know what changed, but something did. I guess there’s always a chance nothing changed too. We are talking about the Astros. It’s early in the season though and this is the time for optimism, so let’s say he fixed something. Sabathia has a big test against the Blue Jays on Sunday, so we ‘ll get to see if whatever adjustment was make between the second and third innings on Tuesday is a sustainable formula for success.

Categories : Analysis, Pitching
Comments (23)

The dream of 0-162 is still alive. The Yankees dropped their second game of the season on Wednesday night, losing 3-1 to the Astros. Houston is 2-0 for the first time in eleven years. Really glad the Yankees are taking advantage of his soft early-season schedule, you guys.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Who Needs Runs When We Have Each Other?
Believe it or not, the Yankees had a bunch of chances in this game. They just couldn’t capitalize on any of ‘em. Their only run scored on a double play (more on that in a bit) and they stranded a runner on second in the third, a runner on first in the fourth, runners on the corners in both the fifth and sixth, and runners on second in both the seventh and eighth. Jacoby Ellsbury flew out and grounded out to end the third and fifth inning rallies, respectively.

The Yankees went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and the biggest RISPFAIL came in the eighth, after Carlos Beltran led off the inning with an opposite field double. The next three batters, the 4-5-6 hitters, all struck out. Brian McCann went down on five pitches, Mark Teixeira on four pitches, and Alfonso Soriano on six pitches. Matt Albers got eight (!) swings and misses out of the 15 pitches he threw those guys. I don’t even.

The early-season offensive ineptitude reminds me of the 2002-ish through 2008 Yankees, who never seemed to hit in April. I remember there used to be columns written pretty much every year about trading for Ken Griffey Jr. to improve the offense. Eventually those teams hit and hit a ton, and I suspect this offense will do the same at some point. Right now though? These last two games have been a hot mess. When Brian Roberts (3-for-4 on Wednesday) has been your most productive hitter, you’ve got issues.

(Bob Levey/Getty)

(Bob Levey/Getty)

Death By Dexter
Poor Hiroki Kuroda. He must have feel 2013 never ended. The Yankees gave their ace only 3.19 runs of support per start last season, the third lowest among qualified starters. They couldn’t buy a run for him on Wednesday* even though he held up his end of the bargain. Kuroda held the Astros to two runs on three hits and one walk in six innings, striking out five. He got seven ground ball outs and six fly ball outs.

* Well, they did score the one run. Wouldn’t want to sell them short.

Unfortunately, all three of those hits were extra-base hits, including a solo homer by Dexter Fowler to lead off the game. Two innings later, he tripled to center and scored on Robbie Grossman’s ground out. Fowler’s killed the Yankees these last two games. Four total hits, all for extra bases. Kuroda pitched around a Grossman one-out triple in the sixth, his final inning. Two triples and homer with no other hits allowed. It’s the first time a pitcher has done that since … Felix Doubront against the Yankees last September. Lame.

Aside from some long at-bats, Kuroda looked like vintage Hiroki Kuroda, mixing sinkers with splitters and sliders and whatever else he has in that bag of tricks. I chalk the long at-bats up to early-season rust. Joe Girardi told Chad Jennings before the game that they plan to treat Kuroda like Andy Pettitte this year, meaning they won’t push him deep into the game or much beyond 100 pitches. That’s why his night ended at six innings and 91 pitches. Sounds like a plan to me.

(Bob Levey/Getty)

(Bob Levey/Getty)

Leftovers
So about that run-scoring double play? It was Yangervis Solarte‘s first career at-bat. He pinch-hit for Kelly Johnson against the left-handed Kevin Chapman with runners on the corners and no outs in the seventh. Yeah, it scored a run, but that double play took the wind right out of the Yankees’ sails. I know he had a great spring, but Solarte isn’t exactly a weapon off the bench. He shouldn’t pinch-hit for anyone in a big or semi-big spot.

David Phelps really doesn’t look right. He was sitting 87-88 mph all spring and he was throwing max effort to hit 90 in this game, giving up a solo homer and putting two other guys on base in his 1.1-inning outing. Phelps missed more than two months with a pair of forearm strains in the second half last season and I dunno, he doesn’t look so hot right now. Maybe keep him out of close games for a little while. Matt Thornton (one ground out, one intentional walk) and Shawn Kelley (ground out) cleaned up Phelps’ mess in the eighth.

Roberts and Brian McCann (2-for-4) combined for five of the team’s seven hits. Beltran (double) and Brett Gardner (single) had the others. Gardner, Ellsbury, and Derek Jeter each drew a walk. Teixeira built upon his strong Opening Day by going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Soriano looks like a mess right now and has gone 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in each of the first two games. He did miss a ton of time of camp with the flu, so maybe he’s just behind. Same with Ellsbury and his calf. Maybe.

The Astros had a pre-game ceremony for Jeter before the game, giving him a set of golf clubs and a pair of fancy cowboy boots. Former Yankees (and Astros) Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens were both on hand. The Astros then came out of the dugout to give Jeter a standing ovation before his first at-bat, which was kinda weird considering they still have another game tomorrow.

Adam Warren has warmed up in each of the first two games, and given how Girardi always makes sure his guys are rested, he might not be available tomorrow. He’s almost certainly a better late-inning option over the current version of Phelps. That reminds me: don’t forget about our Bullpen Workload page now that the season has started.

If you’re looking for a good omen, the Yankees have been held to two runs or less in their first two games of the season for the first time since … 1998. That turned out okay.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some more stats and ESPN has the updated standings. Spoiler: the Yankees are still in last.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Hilariously, the Yankees will try to avoid being swept (!) by the Astros (!!!) on Thursday night. That’s another 8pm ET start. Those are the worst. Give me 7pm or 10pm, nothing in between. Ivan Nova and left-hander Brett Oberholtzer will be the pitching matchup.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (84)
Apr
02

Game Two: Bounce Back

By in Game Threads. · Comments (300) ·
(Scott Halleran/Getty)

(Scott Halleran/Getty)

Opening Day did not go according to plan last night, but that is nothing new for the Yankees, really. They’ve now lost three straight Opening Days and five of their last six. None of those previous losses crippled their season either. It sucks, get over it. There’s another game tonight.

While the offense did not show up until Scott Feldman was out of last night’s game, they will be facing a very different pitcher tonight. Jarred Cosart is a young power arm with both a huge fastball and huge strike-throwing problems. He walked more batters (35) than he struck out (33) during his MLB debut last summer — he did have a 16/5 K/BB in Spring Training, for what it’s worth — and if he has trouble finding the zone tonight, the Yankees have the kind of lineup that can take advantage. Alfonso Soriano is only true swing at everything hacker among the regulars.

Hiroki Kuroda is making his first start of the season and we really didn’t see all that much of him this spring. He only threw 11.1 innings during Grapefruit League play, instead doing a bunch of work in minor league games. With CC Sabathia still an unknown the three unpredictable younger guys at the back of the rotation, Kuroda needs to be the staff ace again, someone who Joe Girardi & Co. can count on for a quality outing every fifth day. Tonight he will be charged with getting the team their first win of 2014 and stopping a losing streak before it even begins. Here’s the lineup, which is the same as last night’s:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. DH Alfonso Soriano
  7. LF Brett Gardner
  8. 2B Brian Roberts
  9. 3B Kelly Johnson
    RHP Hiroki Kuroda

Another hot and humid day in Houston, with on and off showers all day. The retractable roof at Minute Maid Park means we don’t have to worry about any of that. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 8pm ET and you can watch live on YES. Enjoy the game.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (300)
  • Update: Yankees slotted $3.2M for draft, $2.2M for int’l free agency
    By

    6:00pm: Baseball America (no subs. req’d) has the individual slot values for the draft and international pools. The international slots are for used in trades. The Yankees are slotted for $1,018,700 for that 55th overall pick. Their third rounder falls all the way to $585,100.

    12:00pm: Via Jim Callis: Bonus pools for the draft and international free agency have increased 1.7% this year. The Yankees have been slotted $3,202,300 for the 2014 draft, the second smallest pool, ahead of only the Orioles. They have also been slotted $2,193,100 for international free agency, which is more middle of the pack (17th most).

    The Yankees forfeited their top three draft picks — their first rounder and the compensation picks for Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano — to sign free agents last winter, so their first selection is in the second round, 55th overall. That may change slightly if Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales ever get around to signing. That $3.2M pool still gives them enough cash to sign a big money prospect or two, as long as they grab cheap college seniors in rounds five through ten to compensate. They’ve done that the last two years.

    Based on what we heard over the winter, the international spending pool is meaningless this year. The Yankees are said to be planning a huge spending spree, upwards of $15M on prospects and then another $15M in penalties. They reportedly have some agreements already in place. If they do spend huge like that, they will not be allowed to sign anyone to a bonus larger than $300k the next two years. That might not matter with an international draft looking more and more likely. The international signing period opens July 2nd.
    · (31) ·

The RailRiders' Opening Day Starter. (Presswire)

Triple-A Scranton’s Opening Day Starter. (Presswire)

The minor league season starts tomorrow and the Opening Day rosters for the various full season affiliates are now available: Triple-A Scranton, Double-A Trenton, High-A Tampa, and Low-A Charleston. Not sure why OF Aaron Judge is listed as a first baseman with the River Dogs, but it’s probably just a mistake. As always, the rosters are subject to change. Here are some more notes on the final day of the minor league offseason:

  • The upcoming Triple-A Scranton rotation will be RHP Bruce Billings, RHP Chase Whitley, RHP Graham Stoneburner, RHP Brian Gordon, and then TBA. RHP Shane Greene is with the club and will eventually fill a rotation spot, but he is not stretched out after pitching in relief during Spring Training. [Donnie Collins]
  • Neither C Austin Romine nor C John Ryan Murphy were told how their playing time will be split, though it sounds as though Murphy will be the priority, as he should. OF Ramon Flores and 2B Jose Pirela will be everyday players and RHP Matt Daley is the closer according to manager Dave Miley. [Donnie Collins]
  • The Double-A Trenton rotation will be, in order, RHP Bryan Mitchell, LHP Jeremy Bleich, RHP Zach Nuding, RHP Joel De La Cruz, and LHP Matt Tracy. Manager Tony Franklin confirmed the top four hitters in the lineup will be OF Mason Williams, 2B Rob Refsnyder, 3B Rob Segedin, and C Gary Sanchez. [Nick Peruffo]
  • In order, the Low-A Charleston rotation will be RHP Rookie Davis, RHP Luis Severino, RHP Gio Gallegos, RHP Brady Lail, and LHP Caleb Smith. Still no word on High-A Tampa’s starter for Thursday. [Josh Norris]
  • The Yankees have released another five players, according to Matt Eddy: RHP Kenedy Agramonte, RHP Zach Arneson, RHP Adam Smith, RHP Zach Varce, and RHP Derek Varnadore. Arneson, a hard-throwing but very wild reliever, was the team’s ninth round pick in 2011 and the best prospect of the bunch.

Update: According to Collins, UTIL Addison Maruszak has been released. Between that and Eduardo Nunez being designated for assignment, I have absolutely no idea who will play shortstop for Triple-A Scranton.

Categories : Minors
Comments (39)
(Staten Island Advance/Hilton Flores)

(Staten Island Advance/Hilton Flores)

Two years ago it was OF Mason Williams, last year it was OF Tyler Austin, and this year it will be 3B Eric Jagielo. The Yankees’ first first round pick in last summer’s draft won our Prospect Watch vote convincingly, receiving nearly 29% of the over 5,400 votes submitted. That’s way more votes than I expected, so thanks to everyone for taking the time to click.

Here are the full voting results:

  1. 3B Eric Jagielo, 28.7%
  2. C Gary Sanchez, 22.2%
  3. OF Aaron Judge, 17.4%
  4. LHP Manny Banuelos, 12.1%
  5. OF Slade Heathcott, 8.6%
  6. 1B Greg Bird, 7.4%
  7. OF Tyler Austin, 1.9%
  8. OF Mason Williams, 1.8%

No love for Austin or Williams, huh? Cold. I guess they’ve already had their moment in the Prospect Watch sun though. Same with Banuelos. I suspect Bird and Judge will have their time in the sidebar in a year or two. With Heathcott already on the 40-man roster and heading to Triple-A this year, it’s possible he will go his entire minor league career without being part of the Prospect Watch despite being a first round pick. Weird.

Jagielo, 21, was the 26th overall pick in last year’s draft, and he signed quickly for a $1,839,400 signing bonus, which was exactly slot money. The third baseman out of Notre Dame hit .266/.376/.451 (153 wRC+) with 14 doubles and six homers in 218 plate appearances for the Short Season Staten Island Yankees after turning pro. He will open 2014 with High-A Tampa and a promotion to Double-A Trenton at midseason is very likely if he hits like he did with the Baby Bombers. For more on Jagielo, check out his Prospect Profile.

The Prospect Watch will be up in the sidebar tomorrow afternoon. Jagielo and his Tampa Yankees teammates open the season tomorrow night, as do the other three full season affiliates. Austin was a bit of a dud last year because of his nagging wrist injury, but Williams had a very strong year in 2012 and Banuelos was solid in 2011. Barring injury, Jagielo should have no trouble putting up big numbers in Single-A. If we doesn’t, well, that will only add fuel to the Curse of the Prospect Watch fire.

Comments (53)
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