The season is about to begin. Every team is a contender, especially with two more wild card spots up for grabs. Your TYA bloggers have compiled their prediction picks for the season: Lots of variance here. Everyone picks the Yankees to win the AL East. Eric was the only person brave enough (see what I did there?) to go with Atlanta over the Phillies in the NL East. After that, we’ve got a healthy mix of wild card and division winners. Discuss.
Over the winter, the possibility of trading Phil Hughes cropped up every now and then, especially before A.J. Burnett was traded to Pittsburgh. I never really put much stock in the idea, however, because I just couldn’t imagine the Yankees and another team matching up on a price for Hughes after the roller coaster ride that has defined the past two seasons of his career. Now that Hughes is pitching well this spring and making people remember that he won 18 games two years ago, I still don’t think the likelihood of a trade is very high.
To put it simply, it seems to me that I would have very different concerns about Hughes relative to the buyer/seller perspective. If I were the Yankees, I would want to make sure I wasn’t selling low on a guy who was one of the best pitching prospects in baseball not all that long ago and who flashed the sort of ability Hughes showed early in 2010. If I were on the other side of the table, however, I’d be leery of Hughes’ disastrous 2011 campaign, as well as his persistent inability to truly stick as a big league starting pitcher over the course of five seasons now. I just don’t see how you could get to a deal both sides would likely be comfortable pulling the trigger on, in other words, unless Hughes was being included as part of a larger, more complex trade.
Really though, there isn’t a strong argument in favor of trading Hughes now anyway. He’s still got enough stuff to make it possible to envision him as a top end of the rotation starter when it’s all said and done, he’s still young enough to have a future, and he isn’t yet expensive enough to represent a significant enough opportunity cost to make you really hesitate to continue letting him develop. Add the fact that you probably couldn’t get a player with a comparable ceiling in exchange for him, and I see very little likelihood of such a trade even getting much consideration right now. Continue reading Could Phil Hughes get himself traded?
Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein has a preview of the prospecst in the A.L. East that is worth a read today. You’ll need a subscription to read the whole thing, but here are some of the Yankee related highlights:
- Though he gives the Empire State Yankeees an honorable mention of sorts for their stacked starting rotation, he lists prospect laden Charleston as the team to watch in the system this year, which is basically a consensus opinion at this point.
- Goldstein sees Gary Sanchez as the Yankees’ farmhand poised for a breakout season, though he seems to imply he thinks Sanchez will start the season at High-A Tampa, which is contrary to what we’ve heard previously. He gives Sanchez the best odds to be the team’s number one prospect come 2013 which, incidentally, is where I ranked him this year.
- Goldstein lists Dellin Betances as the prospect “fans are too excited about.” Goldstein notes his inconsistent mechanics and injury history, and repeats that Betances profiles as more of a reliever than a starter at this point.
The whole thing is worth a read if you can. Continue reading Goldstein dishes on A.L. East prospects
(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) While the majority of the ST pitching storylines have been dedicated either to Michael Pineda‘s velocity (“ZOMG!!! He’s only throwing 93!!!111!1!1) or Andy Pettitte‘s return (ZOMG!!!! Andy’s back!!!!11!1!!1), the starting pitcher with the most to prove this season has been putting together the best spring out of all the rotation candidates. Most people were justifiably indifferent to the stories of Phil Hughes rededicating himself to conditioning this offseason after his disastrous 2011 and wanted to see how that would translate into his performance on the mound before declaring him “back” or Continue reading Phil Hughes And The Perils Of Pitching Well During A Surplus
If [Garcia is not traded], I would strongly consider letting Pineda get everything in order at Triple-A to begin the season, because by the end of the year he could still very well be the Yankees’ No. 2 starter in the playoffs. That is how great Pineda’s potential is so the Yankees must — first and foremost — do what is best for the 23-year-old.
Pineda might be better served by reducing the pressure on him by coming up as a need starter and then becoming the rotation fixture the team envisions. It would alleviate the focus on his importance from the start, which could be vital at the end.
That is just one more reason to keep Garcia around.
Marchand has of course been leading the Pineda-to-the-minors charge, and I don’t feel like going around that argument yet again. Suffice it to say, it’s a bad idea in my opinion and could quite possibly end with Pineda winning a grievance against the team and accruing major league service time for pitching in the minors, but the Yankees will do what they’ll do sometime in the next 10 days.
However, I would hope that, at this point, serious observers can recognize how irredeemably silly the idea of making any baseball decisions for heuristic reasons has become. After all, the Yankees have presumably been trying to rhetorically lower expectations for Pineda since they acquired him, but it’s only served to give the press more fodder for this bizarre notion that Pineda hasn’t proven he’s a big league pitcher yet (unlike, say, Ivan Nova). Perhaps sending Pineda to the minors at the start of the season would “reduce expectations” for him (though Marchand is still talking about him as a number two starter for the playoffs, so this is quite possibly the most un-self aware MSM blog post I’ve ever come across), but it will probably just give the scribes occasion to blast Pineda and publicly wring their hands over trading away Jesus Montero once again. Because, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, the media will tell the story it wants to tell no matter what you do. Continue reading The worst idea you’ll read today
The Yankees had a day off from on-field action yesterday, so the big news came from minor league camp, where Ravel Santana appeared in a game for the first time since suffering a serious ankle injury last summer. He played three innings in the field, and was reportedly moving well in centerfield. This is a fairly big development, as it suggests is rehabbing successfully and won’t suffer any timetable setbacks in his development.
Santana is probably the prospect I’m most intrigued by in the Yankees’ system. He’s their truest five-tool prospect, and his combination of speed, arm strength, and ability to hit for power makes it easy to see him profiling at any of the three outfield spots over the long term. I ranked him as the 9th best prospect in the system last month, but given the fact that his ankle seems to be doing well, if I were to revise that list today I’d probably move him up to 6th, between Jose Campos and Dante Bichette Jr. If he’s on track, he’ll probably start the season in extended spring training before joining the Staten Island Yankees when short season ball starts. Continue reading Santana makes spring debut
Time for our predictions. Open these up again in November and either laugh at us or realize how brilliant we are. Brad Vietrogoski: AL: Matt Moore NL: Trevor Bauer Steve Shaka: AL: Matt Moore NL: Julio Teheran William Juliano: A.L 1. Jesus Montero 2. Yu Darish 3. Matt Moore N.L. 1. Bryce Harper 2. Drew Pomeranz 3. Yonder Alonso Alex Geshwind AL: Matt Moore NL: Trevor Bauer E.J. Fagan: AL: Matt Moore NL: Yonder Alonso Mike Eder: AL: 1. Yu Darvish 2. Jesus Montero 3. Matt Moore 4. Jarrod Parker 5. Addison Reed NL 1. Zack Cozart 2. Trevor Bauer Continue reading TYA Award Predictions: Rookie of the Year
Mark Feinsand passes along the news that a source with the Yankees has told him that “it would be a shock” if Phil Hughes does not occupy one of the five spots in the Yankees’ Opening Day rotation. I’m not sure if this can be said to count as big news or not, as we had assumed since the beginning of camp that Hughes had the inside line on the fifth starter job, and he certainly hasn’t done anything to lose that distinction over the past month. In fact, he might well have had the most impressive spring of any Yankees’ starter to this point, for whatever that’s worth. I think Hughes getting a rotation spot had become a foregone conclusion at some point in the past week, at the least, and this is a good indication to that effect.
The person this might have the biggest impact on, however, is Ivan Nova. I continue to be skeptical of the theory that the Yankees will try to send Michael Pineda to the minor leagues to start the season, and I’ve written before that I can see a path in which Nova becomes the odd man out in the rotation battle, a feeling that has grown stronger as this “competition” has drug on. If Pineda isn’t going to the minors and Hughes isn’t going to the bullpen, the final spot would come down to Nova and Freddy Garcia and, while Garcia has expressed an openness to pitching out of the bullpen, I’m fairly sure that’s not the optimal usage for him. With Nova still having options, and a fairly strong case to be made that Pineda and Hughes are better rotation options, sending Nova to the minors to remain stretched out and ready to come back to the majors if the Yankees need rotation reinforcements seems like a fairly obvious course for the team to take right now. Continue reading Feinsand: Hughes wins starting spot
Hiroki Kuroda has been an afterthought this spring. With all the media attention surrounding Michael Pineda‘s velocity, Andy Pettitte‘s signing, Freddy Garcia‘s status, little thought and ink has been spent about one of the biggest moves the Yankees made over the winter. Even Kuroda’s signing was overshadowed at the time by the Pineda – Jesus Montero deal. Kuroda’s spring starts have been mildly covered. All this begs the question of if any major addition to the Yankees in the last twenty years has had less fanfare and attention than the addition of Hiroki Kuroda. This is sort of odd considering the media attention that often swirls around the biggest franchise in sports. And it is odd because Kuroda has been penciled in to the second spot of the Yankees’ rotation since he was signed. In other words, he is kind of important.
(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading The quiet addition