NoMaas has a clip of CC Sabathia from last night’s game, showing the big guy striking out a helpless Ryan Raburn to start the game. I haven’t figured out a way to direct link to their post or the video (lame), so make sure you head on over and check it out before it gets buried on the main page. They’ve also got a clip of David Robertson getting a little towel work in. Check it out.
USA Today ran an article today that basically amounts to 100 young players you need to know for 2009. David Price predictably topped the list, and was followed by Travis Snider of the Jays and Chris Davis of the Rangers. Three Yankees made the list:
35. Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees: Right now, Gardner is stuck in a five-man logjam in the Yankees outfield. Things could clear up for him (a trade of Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher, further club dissatisfaction with Melky Cabrera) or get more crowded (Jorge Posada forced to DH, pushing Hideki Matsui into the outfield mix). Gardner, 25, gives the Yankees a needed burst of speed (he stole 13 bases in 14 tries) and does the little things well, but will need to hit more — maybe a lot more — to get playing time.
84. Austin Jackson, OF, Yankees: The weak link in the Yankees’ lineup, at least offensively, is center field, where either Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera is likely to be on opening day. By some point later in the season, it’s not an unrealistic scenario that Jackson, 22, could be there. He is speedy with the ability to hit for average like Gardner but has more power. Cabrera can do similar things as Jackson offensively but slumped terribly at the plate last year. If Cabrera slumps again, Jackson will be a call away in Class AAA.
97. David Robertson, RHP, Yankees: Robertson, 23, emerged as a steady big-league bullpen option, then hit the wall with an 8.18 August ERA and was sent back to Class AAA. He throws hard enough to be a factor again this season, if not immediately.
These lists are very tough to put together, because you’re not ranking guys based on who’s the best player or prospect, you’re ranking them based on who will have the biggest impact in the big leagues this year. That said, David Murphy (#11) over Colby Rasmus (#12) is laughable.
Couple other quick comments: Clayton Richard (#17) is way too high, Tommy Hanson too low (#34), and JA Happ (#95) extremely too low. I’d have Happ in the top 25, ditto Hanson. I love me some Jason Motte too (#25), dude had 126 strikeouts in 76.2 IP between Triple-A and the bigs last year. And I’m sorry, if you’re going to include guys like Jess Todd, (#44) Adam Miller (#45), Scott Elbert (#50), and Phillippe Aumont (#72), then you have to include Mark Melancon. That’s just crazy.
Anywho, there’s your open thread for the night. The Nets are in D.C., and the Knicks are getting visit from LeBron. Anything goes, just be nice.
Photo Credit: Al Tielemans, SI
This should make everyone happy: the Yanks have called up reliever David Robertson from Triple-A Scranton. The righty has certainly earned his chance, allowing just 48 baserunners in 51.2 IP this season. He’s struck out 187 men against just 54 in 136 career IP. Robertson last pitched on Thursday, throwing 24 pitches in 2 shutdown innings, so he should be good to go today. No word yet on a who’s going down.
As I’ve been noting throughout the year in Down on the Farm, Charleston righthanded reliever David Robertson is absolutely rolling. I’ve been getting a good amount of email and comments about him, so I thought it was worth it to drum up a post, filling you in on the relief version of Tim Lincecum.
So far this year Robertson’s thrown 17.1 innings, giving up only 5 hits and 6 walks (0 runs, earned or otherwise) against 25 strikeouts. He’s holding opponents to a get-the-hell-outta-here .086 batting average against, and he sports a nice little 2.86 GB/FB ratio. He’s on Yanks’ typical “2 innings every 3 days” plan for developing relievers, and has been especially unhittable since he went 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K in his first outing of the year.
He attended the University of Alabama, where he was your typical do-everything college pitcher. He started some, he closed some, he came on in middle relief some, but his calling card remained the same throughout: lots of K’s, but also a fair amount of walks. The Yanks took him in the 17th round with the intention of following his progress through summer ball, and boy did Robertson step up to the plate.
Pitching for Yarmouth-Dennis in the Cape Cod League, Robertson was perfect in 15 innings, striking out 15 men in the process. And when I say perfect, I mean perfect – he didn’t allow a single base runner all summer. This is especially impressive because the Cape is basically a league of college All-Stars, where the best of the best go to strut there stuff for the following year’s draft. Robertson also took home Playoff MVP honors on the Cape, a reward for his shutdown relief work. After that performance the Yanks showed him the money, giving him a bonus in excess of $100,000.
Rail thin at 5′-11″, 175 lbs, Robertson works primarily off his low-90’s fastball, which actually lost some heat since college. His slider is a hard downer, a knock-out pitch that he uses to record all those K’s. He also throws a garden variety curveball and changeup, but as a reliever he’ll use them about as often as a knuckleball or eephus pitch. He’s done a good job of cutting down his walks, but the big test will come in higher levels, when he might not be able to simply pound the zone and overpower hitters as easily as Low-A guys.
He recently turned 22, so he is old for his level. A promotion to Tampa, and possibly even Trenton, is inevitable at this point, and he’s very much a legit prospect. Given the injuries to JB Cox and Mark Melancon, Robertson has entrenched himself as the number 2 relief prospect in the system behind Kevin Whelan. If I were to whip up a prospect list today, I’d stick him in the 10-15 range.
EJ of Pending Pinstripes was wise enough to rank Robertson in his Top 30 Prospects, sticking him at number 27. Pinstripes Plus also has a recent article up on Robertson, though you need a subscription to read it.
(Photo via capecodbaseball.com)
**Correction** As commentor Lorraine points out, some of Robertson’s Cape Cod League stats are incorrect. I took those stats from EJ’s report on Robertson because I can’t find 2006 Cape stats for the life of me. Since I still can’t find any ’06 stats, I can’t update those numbers, but IÂ assure youÂ he was still awesome (I followed his progress religiously on one of my previous blogs, hoping the Yanks would cut a deal with him once the season was over).Â Mistake acknowledged though, my bad.