The Farm Report: 4/19/2012

One of these days, we will see an organizational sweep, I promise. Alas, it was not this night, as we instead get another 3-1 night in the minor leagues. There was plenty of fireworks however, with plenty of offense and a wild affair in Charleston.

Empire State beat Rochester 5-3:

Adam Warren continues to bounce back from his disappointing first start, and though he didn’t outdo D.J. Mitchell‘s performance from last night, but he was strong in his own right, giving up just one run over six innings with five strikeouts, four hits alowed, and two walks issued. Steve Pearce delivered the big blow for the Yankees with a three run homer in the fifth. Doug Bernier had their only other extra base hit, a double, and drove in a run as well.

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Game Thirteen: Phil’s Phirst Win?

Its the final game of the Yankee v. Twin home series tonight. On the mound for the Twins is Anthony Swarzak, who you can read about here. Phil Hughes make his third start and another bid for his first win before things start to look even bleaker. RHP Phil Hughes v. RHP Anthony Swarzak Yankees Twins Derek Jeter SS Denard Span CF Curtis Granderson CF Jamey Carroll SS Alex Rodriguez 3B Joe Mauer C Robinson Cano DH Josh Willingham LF Mark Teixeira 1B Justin Morneau DH Nick Swisher RF Ryan Doumit RF Raul Ibanez LF Danny Valencia 3B Russell Martin Continue reading Game Thirteen: Phil’s Phirst Win?

Game thirteen: Just split

Anyone else sick of seeing the Twins? God knows I am. I already find them annoying enough, what with their slaptastic hitters and playing the game the right way and whatnot, but when they’re taking two of the first three in a four game set at Yankee Stadium and Justin Morneau is hitting balls out of the park like he’s playing in a Little League field, I’m more than ready to see the Yankees go to Boston so we can change the conversation to what color hat Bobby Valentine wears to Fenway tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully the Yankees get out of this one with a split in the series and go back above .500 on the year. Here’s the lineups for both teams:

Twins (4-8):

Denard Span CF
Jamey Carroll SS
Joe Mauer C
Josh Willingham LF
Justin Morneau DH
Ryan Doumit RF
Danny Valencia 3B
Chris Parmalee 1B
Alexi Casilla 2B

Anthony Swarzak RHP

Yankees (6-6):

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez 2B

Phil Hughes

A brief observation about the lineup. Joe Girardi went right ahead and did one of the very few things he absolutely should not do with Brett Gardner unavailable by playing Raul Ibanez in the field with Phil Hughes starting the game. He’s also got Robinson Cano DH’ing, with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez both in the field. This despite the fact that there are three games coming up in Fenway Park, where Ibanez could use the green monster to mitigate some of his defensive shortcomings while allowing other guys to get some DH time. Go on, tell me I’m too hard on Girardi.

Oh well, should be entertaining, I guess. First pitch is at 7:05 and the game can be seen on YES. Enjoy! Continue reading Game thirteen: Just split

Checking in with some sleeper prospects

On Tuesday, I took a look at the early-season performance of some of the Yankees’ top prospects across the minor leagues, but particularly in Charleston.  Today, I will be looking at the performances of some guys who have flown under the  radar. Adam Warren, who should be motivated by the presence of longtime rival David Phelps in the major leagues, is off to a bit of a slow start to the season.  He got rocked in his first outing, giving up 6 runs in 3 innings of work, but settled down in his second outing, surrendering just 2 runs in Continue reading Checking in with some sleeper prospects

Hughes needs a better curveball

If you’re looking for one singular reason why Phil Hughes continues to struggle as a major league starter, this RAB post by Joe Pawlikowski detailing how little success he’s having with his secondary offerings, especially his curveball, is an excellent place to start. Hughes’ trouble developing a secondary arsenal after showing promise in that area as a prospect has been well chronicled, and I’ve certainly done my share of harping on Hughes’ need to develop a better array of non-fastballs over the past year. I’m not entirely sure that Joe’s conclusion is 100% accurate, however:

It’s understandable why Hughes has gone to his four-seamer so often. He can overpower hitters with it, as he throws it high in the zone with late life. But he can’t continue throwing it almost 60 percent of the time and expect to succeed in the rotation.

60% doesn’t exactly leap out and grab me as a ridiculously high rate at which to be throwing a fastball as a starting pitcher. For example, that’s right about the rate at which C.C. Sabathia has thrown a fastball in his time with the Yankees, and less often than Michael Pineda (62.2%) and Clayton Kershaw (66%) threw their fastballs in 2011. That’s all the more striking when you consider that each of those three pitchers also feature plus-plus sliders in their arsenals.

So, for Hughes, I think the best answer is the most obvious one: he needs to throw better secondary pitches (especially curveballs) not just more of them. Refining the curveball to a legitimate weapon will help him put more batters away once he’s ahead of them in the count and give his fastball that much extra OOOMPH if batters are forced to look for other quality offerings in addition to the ‘ole number one. Continue reading Hughes needs a better curveball

Early prospect surprises

Every season produces some surprises in the minor league ranks. Guys that weren’t on the radar coming into the year begin figuring things out and put up solid numbers, while top prospects falter or disappoint for whatever reason. Sometimes they aren’t progressing as fast as you’d like them to, other times you get a situation like what the Yankees dealt with with Jesus Montero last year. Either way, one of the great things about baseball is that there’s always something you didn’t quite expect happening, and prospects are no different. Wiith two weeks of the minor league season in the books, here’s an early look at five Yankees’ prospects who, for better or worse, have surprised me with their performance thus far.

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Instant Replay via Challenge Flags and a War Room

Last night, Al Leiter suggested that baseball bring instant replay into baseball via challenge flags. The umpires had just pretty badly blown a call on Robinson Cano at first base. Cano was easily (even to the naked eye) safe, but was called out. In a one-run game, that play could easily have made the difference. Baseball needs instant replay. Most sports these days have it on important plays, but baseball severely limits its replay to home run calls. The reason normally cited is that the game is too long. As pitch counts and pitching changes have increased, so has the Continue reading Instant Replay via Challenge Flags and a War Room

The elephant in the room

My wife and I were watching yet another bad start by a Yankees’ starting pitcher and she asks, “Where’s that big guy?” When I told her I didn’t understand, she said, “You know…Shrek?” That was always my wife’s nickname for Bartolo Colon. It is rather clever, actually. Anyway, the elephant had just entered the room. We had to have the Bartolo Colon conversation. No, the Yankees did not keep him. They kept Freddy Garcia instead. “But wasn’t Shrek better than him?” I didn’t answer. “He would have been better than this,” she continued. I just nodded meekly. And then I saw in the comments yesterday that frequent visitor and IIATMS friend, Jay, brought up Colon’s name and the elephant had entered the room on this site as well. So we need to have the conversation about Bartolo Colon versus Freddy Garcia.

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Mark Teixeira Is Powerless (And That’s OK)

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) There’s been a major power shortage in the middle of the Yankee lineup so far this season.  If the team weren’t still winning ballgames, and if the rotation didn’t have its own issues, it would probably be a bigger a story.  Guys like Robbie Cano and A-Rod get a little leeway because of their track records, especially with Cano starting to break out last night.  For Mark Teixeira, however, the situation might not be so cushy.  As we all know by now, Teix is coming off 3 straight years of Continue reading Mark Teixeira Is Powerless (And That’s OK)