My take on Nunez and the future of the Yankee outfield

In the last few days, both Alex and Steve have touched on Eduardo Nunez making the transition to the outfield and how it could affect the outfield going forward. They’ve given some support to the idea, though I wouldn’t say either has given the it a glowing recommendation. Consider this my declaration of being firmly against the idea of moving Nunez to the outfield.

As I mentioned in the comments of Alex’s article yesterday, this isn’t necessarily going to be an easy switch. While being athletic certainly buys you a lot in the outfield, there is still a decent amount of skill involved. Nunez will have to learn how to track fly balls in a much different way than he’s used to. He’ll have to get used to fielding balls on the ground in a much different way than he’s used to (hell, he’s not exactly that great at fielding them now). He’ll have to get used to throwing much differently than he’s used to.… Click here to read the rest

Darvish dominates as Yanks blanked

The Yankees did look like they might get to Darvish early on in the game when Eric Chavez led off the third inning with a single to right followed by a Russell Martin walk. Derek Jeter then bunted his way to first, and the Yankees had the bases loaded with no outs for the heart of their order. Darvish finished off a tough at bat against Curtis Granderson with a called strike three, however, and then got Alex Rodriguez to tap a ball weakly to Adrian Beltre, who stepped on third before firing across the diamond to get A-Rod on the back end and end the threat just like that. Robinson Cano then led off the fourth inning with a double but, again, Darvish was able to work his way out of trouble, striking out both Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher before getting Raul Ibanez out on a groundball.

That would pretty much be the last serious threat the Yankees mounted in the game.… Click here to read the rest

Darvish dominates, Yanks get shut out

After besting the red-hot Rangers 7-4 behind solid pitching from CC Sabathia, the Yankees looked to continue their success in Arlington.  Game 2 of the series featured a pitching matchup that guaranteed interest across multiple continents, as Hiroki Kuroda took on his Japanese countryman, hyped import Yu Darvish.  Although the two never faced each other in Japan, it would be an opportunity for perhaps the most successful Japanese-born pitcher in MLB history to match up with the one looking to strip him of that mantle.

Darvish gained the advantage in the early going, sending down the Yankees in the top of the 1st while allowing only a walk to Curtis Granderson.  In the early going, he was showing a variety of offerings, including a 92-94 MPH fastball and several sharp breaking pitches to keep the Yankees off balance.  Kuroda, meanwhile, surrendered a leadoff home run to Ian Kinsler to put the Bombers in the hole, before retiring the next 3 hitters to keep the deficit at 1.… Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report: April 24, 2012

Trenton knocked around Erie for an 11-4 victory:
The Thunder scored early and often on Tuesday.  Abraham Almonte got things started with a leadoff single and a stolen base.  Kevin Mahoney walked and Almonte scored on a double from Ronnier Mustelier.  Mahoney scored on a groundout by Cody Johnson and Luke Murton singled in Mustelier to give Trenton a 3-0 edge.  Mustelier sent a double to left in the second, scoring two more runs and Walter Ibarra knocked a RBI triple to right in the third.  He scored on a single from Almonte and the Thunder held a 7-0 lead through just a third of the game.  Erie finally put a run on the board in the fifth, but Trenton answered with three more in the bottom of the inning.  When all was said and done, Trenton had eleven runs off sixteen hits, while Erie managed just four off eight hits.   Almonte went 3-5 with three runs scored, a double, two stolen bases and a RBI.  … Click here to read the rest

Game 18: Duel at Ranger’s Ballpark

Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

The narrative in tonight’s game will surround two pitchers who could, at the end of their careers, be crowned the greatest Japanese pitchers in MLB history. After only 3 major league starts, that might be preemptive for the Texas starting pitcher Yu Darvish, but he’s certainly the most talented pitcher to come out of the NPB. You can read more about what Darvish throws and how he’s pitched thus far in my scouting report. Hiroki Kuroda will be pitching for the Yankees, and in his MLB career he’s been the most successful Japanese pitcher to switch leagues. That said, there is a different narrative a lot of Yankee fans will be watching, the Yankees’ failure to seriously pursue Darvish. When Brian Cashman opted not to aggressively bid for the Japanese super-star, he instead targeted Michael Pineda and Kuroda. While Pineda’s future with the Yankees has become a huge question mark, Kuroda could step up and show that Cashman made the right move, but could also get shelled while Darvish mows down the Yankee lineup.… Click here to read the rest

Gary Sanchez’s defensive progress

Gary Sanchez is one of the top prospects in the Yankee system, almost entirely because of his hitting prowess.  Sanchez’s profile as a prospect is very comparable to that of Jesus Montero: an offense-first catcher with the potential to hit for power and average in the long-term, but major question marks about their ability to remain at the position.

Unlike Montero, who many believed was simply too big for the position, it is a little easier to project the 6’2″ 220 Sanchez as physically being able to handle the position.  Montero’s slow windup and release made catching attempted basestealers a difficult feat (usually hovering around 20%), whereas Sanchez has been relatively successful at throwing out runners (31% last year, 28% so far this year).

Receiving pitches has historically been an issue for Sanchez, and the statistics back that assertion up.  In 2011, Sanchez allowed a whopping 26 passed balls in 60 games behind the plate, and there were rumors that he stopped calling breaking pitches because he had difficulty blocking them, and did not want to inflate the passed ball total any further.… Click here to read the rest