Yankees Reassign Nardi Contreras

The Yankees have reassigned long-time minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras and have replaced him with Gil Patterson.

From the New York Post:

Gil Patterson was hired as minor league pitching coordinator. Patterson had been a candidate to become pitching coach after Dave Eiland’s departure two years ago and most recently worked with the A’s. The former Yankees pitcher replaces Nardi Contreras, who will stay with the organization.

Contreras was instrumental in developing the “Joba Rules” and pitching count guidelines while holding his coordinator position. He will remain within the organization.

Read more

Building a bullpen without Mo

The Yankees got their first taste of life without Mariano Rivera this year, after the greatest closer of all time tore his ACL in Kansas City in early May. That was supposed to be something they didn’t have to repeat in 2013, but yesterday we learned that Rivera is having “second thoughts” about a return to the mound, even going so far as to share those thoughts with Brian Cashman. Having Mo call it quits would definitely be an emotional and psychological gut-shot for Yankee fans, but would would it mean for the team’s bullpen? Maybe not as much as you’d think.

Now, to be clear, the Yankees are obviously better with Rivera than without him, and the difference between Mo and the guy who would take his roster spot is enormous. The Yankees should absolutely hope that Rivera returns for at least one more season, I’m just saying that it wouldn’t be a catastrophe for the unit as a whole if they don’t have Rivera anchoring them next season.…

Read more

Looking at the Yankees’ future at catcher

As Brien mentioned, the Yankees job for starting catcher is up for grabs right now. Russell Martin‘s contract was for one year and the Yankees have yet to indicate whether they plan to resign him. This year they sent a pretty clear signal that they do not view Francisco Cervelli as a viable option, while they groom their next backstop of the future. First, they traded for Chris Stewart at the end of Spring Training, sending Cervelli to the wandering Empire State Yankees and then only gave him three at bats and a handful of innings behind the plate after being called-up in September. While thinking about this potential hole in their lineup, it struck me that the Yankees have found themselves in a place many of us thought they would avoid, given their penchant for drafting and developing some strong catching prospects.

For much of the 1990s and 2000s, the Yankees had a solid starting catcher behind home plate.…

Read more

Banuelos to miss all of 2013

Brian Cashman is giving an interview on WFAN, and while much of the conversation is very similar to the interview he did on ESPN Radio Sunday, the Yankees’ general manager did confirm that Manny Banuelos, the team’s top pitching prospect, will miss the entirety of the 2013 season following Tommy John surgery. That’s not a surprise, obviously, but the Yankees arent even going to hint that he could make an early return, apparently.

Banuelos, who was all the rage after a strong Spring Training performance in 2011, struggled with walking batters after being promoted to Double-A that season, and then missed almost all of 2012, first with a back injury and then with an elbow injury. The latter problem was originally diagnosed as being non-structural and the Yankees were hoping to have him pitching in winter ball, but announced that he would indeed need Tommy John surgery during the last week of the regular season.

(h/t to Rob Abruzzese for alerting me to the interview)

Read more

Baseball America’s draft report card for the Yankees

Baseball America has released their draft report cards for 2012 and the Yankees’ is one of the handful that do not require a subscription. They singled out fifth round pick Robert Refsnyder as the best pure hitter drafted by New York. The outfielder from the University of Arizona started his career in Charleston this season, after winning the College World Series. Peter O’Brien (second round) is cited as the best power hitter, but he is a big question mark defensively at catcher. Corey Black (fourth round) and top pick Ty Hensley got nods for having the best fastballs, while Nick Goody (sixth round) was mentioned as having the best debut and being closest to the majors. Goody, a closer for LSU worked his way up to the Tampa Yankees with a combined 1.12 ERA over 32 games, averaging 14.6 Ks per nine and a 5.78 K/BB ratio. Austin Aune, Taylor Dugas, Saxon Butler and others are all mentioned as well so make sure to check it out.…

Read more

Arizona Fall League update and other Minor League notes

Random Notes:

  • After having some strong prospect representation on Baseball America’s top 20 lists for the South Atlantic League and the Florida State League, the Yankees failed to have any prospects make the Eastern League or International League lists. This is not surprising, given the way players like Betances and Manuel Banuelos failed to impress this season and the Yankees’ general lack of exciting prospects in those higher levels this past season.
  • George King had an interesting post about Ronnier Mustelier at Baseball America recently. He notes that while Mustelier has been very impressive with the bat, the Yankees main concern has been trying to find out where he fits. Mustelier has played second, third, left field and right field over the past year and, according to Mark Newman, has improved defensively. It sounds like the Yankees are trying to get him more comfortable in the outfield to better fit their needs. Mustelier is not on the 40-man but could be put on it next year.
Read more

Familiar faces make BA’s Top 20 Florida State League prospect list

As always, Sanchez’s bat has been widely considered his strongest asset, and this has not changed. While Ballew only quietly acknowledged the young backstop’s defensive improvements, he primarily focused on the improvements Sanchez needs to make defensively and what he viewed as a “lackluster” work ethic. Cooper didn’t seem to see things quite as bleakly, though he notes it is still uncertain Sanchez will stick at catcher. Cooper thought Sanchez made some good progress defensively and showed more energy, better receiving and a strong arm.

Injuries continue to be the main concern for Heathcott, who has had two surgeries on his left shoulder since being drafted by the Yankees. BA’s scouting report, however, will remind you why he is such an exciting prospect. In fact, Chris Truby, the manager of the Clearwater Threshers, is quoted as saying that Heathcott was his favorite player in the league, noting his ability to play strong defense, hit for power and run. It is easy to forget how exciting a player he is given his injuries, but if Heathcott can stay healthy it could be a fun couple years watching him develop.…

Read more