Earlier today we pointed you in the direction of John Sickels’ interview with Mark Newman, but here’s a few more minor league links to pass along…
Goldstein’s Organizational Rankings
A few days after releasing his top 101 prospects list, Kevin Goldstein released his farm system rankings today, placing the Yankees fourth overall behind the Royals, Rays, and Braves. You don’t need a subscription to view the whole thing. Instead of posting a generic paragraph on each system, KG added a haiku, and I give him points for originality. His Yankees’ offering: “Slugger with no glove. The B’s need to prove themselves. Yankees or trade bait?” Pretty much everything you need to know right there.
International Free Agent Clearing House
Baseball America posted a trio of great charts regarding international free agency today, one looking at the top 30 signing bonuses from 2010, another with each team’s spending in 2010, and the last with the top 20 bonuses of all-time. None of them require a subscription. The Yankees gave Wilmer Romero and Christopher Tamarez $656,500 and $650,000, respectively, the 19th and 20th largest bonuses of the year. Rafael DePaula got just $500,000 (26th), and some kid named Eduardo Rivera got $475,000 (30th). The $5.27M they spent overall was the second most by any team, so everyone complaining that the team wasn’t spending enough internationally, just stop.
As for the all-time records, Gary Sanchez‘s $3M is the third largest ever, behind Michael Ynoa and Miguel Sano. Wily Mo Pena ($2.44MM) is the ninth largest of all time, and for a while was a record. I still can’t believe the Yankees gave Wify Mo a big league contract as a teenager.
KLaw on Sanchez
Jesus Montero is the cream of the Yankees’ position player prospect crop and rightfully so, but further down the later resides Sanchez, who has to potential to be every bit as good as Hey-Zeus. Keith Law looked at six prospects yesterday (Insider req’d), six guys with the potential to jump into the top ten prospects in all of baseball next year, and Sanchez was among them. “Sanchez can hit, and looks like he’ll hit for power,” said KLaw. “A full year behind the plate and another year of physical development will go a long way toward answering the question of his defensive future, but there aren’t many questions about his offensive potential.”
Law says he believes Sanchez can catch long-term, and at the very least he has a better chance to do so than Montero. It’s unfair to compare Sanchez to Montero but it’ll inevitably happen. If he’s 75% of Jesus, that would be amazing.
Yankees sign Nick Ebert
The Yankees have signed former South Carolina first baseman Nick Ebert as an undrafted free agent, reports Matt Eddy. The 23-year-old hit .302/.448/.638 with 30 homers in 440 plate appearances with the Game Cocks over the last two years, before which he was at a junior college. Baseball America ranked Ebert as the 36th best prospect in the state before last year’s draft, just saying that he was a solid college senior with some power. The right-handed hitter is probably nothing more than minor league depth, a guy that can mash Single-A pitching and help keep the pressure off the youngsters.
Via Melissa Segura, the Yankees are expected to sign Dominican right-hander Rafael DePaula later today. The bonus is said to be around $700,000. DePaula was suspended from signing for a year after lying about his age and identity, but he was cleared by MLB’s verification process earlier this year. The soon-to-be 20-year-old (in March) was considered one of the best available this year, standing 6-foot-3 with a fastball that has touched 97 in workouts. Here’s video.
The Mariners, another Latin American powerhouse, made DePaula an offer as well.
Some stuff worth mentioning, but not worth their own posts…
Curtis Granderson gets contacts
Despite having 20/30 vision, new centerfielder Curtis Granderson will be wearing contacts for the first time in his career this season. “They said, ‘Your vision is 20/30, so let’s see if we can improve it,’” said Granderson. “For most people, they’d let it go, but since we can possibly make me see better to hit, who knows. We’ll see.” They considered Lasik at one point, but I guess they didn’t see the need to go that far just yet. Neither side is using his eyesight as an excuse for Granderson’s struggles against lefties or pop ups or anything like that, they’re just looking to make an improvement wherever they can.
Phil Hughes is throwing changeups
About a week ago, we heard that the Phil Hughes was going to focus on developing his changeup this spring in an effort to boost his repertoire in anticipation of returning to the rotation. Of course, we’ve heard this before. During his bullpen session yesterday, Hughes threw about a dozen changeups (40 pitches total), and he’s going to continue doing so all through the exhibition season. Given his fastball-cutter-curveball trio, Hughes doesn’t need the change to be anything more than a show-me pitch to lefthanders, but if he can develop into something better than that, then great.
Yankees still in on Rafael DePaula
Even though he’s sitting on an offer from the Mariners, the Yankees are still trying to sign Dominican righty Rafael DePaula. The 17-year-old was suspended by MLB for a year because he apparently lied about his age, however his birthdate has since been confirmed and he’s free to sign with any team. DePaula stands 6′-3″ and has reportedly hit 97 in the past, which puts him in line for a seven figure payout. The largest bonus the Yanks have ever given to an amateur pitcher from Latin American is the $800,000 they gave Arodys Vizcaino back in 2007.
A look at the history of stadiums and stadium names
Wezen-Ball put together a great infographic showing each club’s stadium and it’s name, dating back to the 1800′s. I love stuff like this. So much I didn’t know…