Can Heath Bell Be Of Any Value?

Heath Bell 2014

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(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

The shuffling and re-shuffling of the middle relief deck has been a constant for the Yankees this year.  Early injuries to the starters, some DL stints at the front end of the ‘pen, and a lot of really poor performances have combined to create a rotation of mostly mediocre characters through the last 2 spots and the Yanks are very much still in search of a couple of reliable options.  They’ve got rookie Jose Ramirez in one spot for the moment and the recently-acquired David Huff in the other.  You’ll remember him from his tandem starter duties with Phil Hughes last season.

Another move Cash made to add some organizational depth was signing Heath Bell to a MiL deal last Friday.  Bell was released by the Rays earlier in the season after putting up a 7.27 ERA in 17.1 IP and most recently he had been pitching some OK ball for the Baltimore Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate (4.22/3.24 in 10.2 IP).  … Click here to read the rest

Minors Review: May

As you may have noticed by the lack of Farm Reports this past month, I was out of commission for most of May, recovering from Tommy John…wait, no…from rotator cuff surgery. College athletics – the gift that keeps on giving! I am slowly getting back to “normal” (or as Brad said, I’m about ready to throw a side session) so I hope to resume those posts in the coming weeks.  For now, I will ignore the frustration caused by my slow one-handed typing so as to permit me to at least get out the end of month posts. So, without further adieu, let’s look back at May.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
At the end of May, Scranton was 28-26 and two games behind Rochester in the IL North. After a lackluster start to 2014, the RailRiders had a solid month, going 17-13, thanks in part to a six game win streak.

The RailRiders hurlers only allowed seven homers in April, a feat they were unable to replicate in May, though their 24 homers through May still were the least in the International League.… Click here to read the rest

Who is Chase Whitley?

Chase WhitleyWhen Joe Girardi made the official announcement that Chase Whitley would start, there was a collective response from Yankees fans …

Who?

With all the injuries to the pitching staff, New York needed to fill CC Sabathia’s Thursday start. So, Girardi dug into the minors and yanked out Whitley, a 25-year-old righty from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Whitley spent most of his minor league career as a reliever. He’s played in 151 games, but wasn’t moved to the starting role full time until this season. He’s made 14 starts in the minors. In seven games (six starts) this season, he has a 2.39 ERA with 32 strikeouts and seven walks in 26.1 innings. He has a 1.025 WHIP, and has not given up a home run yet this year.

Whitley wasn’t just a pitcher out of college. He also played third base at Southern Union State Community College and Troy University, both in Alabama.  Perhaps, he won’t be a liability with the bat during when plays the Mets at Citi Field.… Click here to read the rest

Prospects Who’s Not: April

Well, I’ve given you the the hot prospects for April, along with some well-deserved honorable mentions, so now it’s time for the not so hot. While the Hot list was tough to make because there were those deserving a mention who got left off, the Not list was much easier. This was in part to some rough performances by some recognizable names, but also because not as many of the more important prospects struggled. There were plenty whose April was more of a mixed bag, but here are five who really are going to need to turn things around in May.

Austin Romine (C, Scranton):
I have never given out a Not Prospect of the Month, but Romine is tempting me this April. After a brief call up to New York early in April, the Yankees passed him over for John Ryan Murphy when Cervelli got injured. If Romine was trying to convince them they made a mistake, he certainly has done little to prove them wrong.… Click here to read the rest

Prospects Who’s Hot: April

I always like it when this list is hard to put together because I feel like there are a decent number of players I could talk about here. That was the case this month, so here are my picks for April, in no particular order.

Peter O’Brien (C, Tampa):
O’Brien had a solid first full season in professional baseball last year, splitting time between Charleston and Tampa. He has picked up right where he left off this month, crushing the ball with a .330/.361/.703 line. He had eight homers, eight doubles and a triple, alone with sixteen RBIs. Despite crushing the ball, O’Brien has only taken four walks over 24 games, striking out 22 times. If he keeps swinging like this he may be taking at bats in Trenton by the break.

Luis Severino (RHP, Charleston):
The Dominican righty got his first taste of baseball stateside last season and has started his first full season very strong. Despite a rough first outing, where he gave up three runs in just two innings, Severino turned around and threw seventeen innings with only one earned run over the rest of the month of April (four starts).… Click here to read the rest

Minors Review: April

I find it hard to believe that it is already May, possibly because up here in northern New England it felt like winter was never going to end this year, but it is and so we have our first month of Minor League baseball in the books. The strange weather has played some role in the early part of the season for some of the Yankees’ affiliates, but overall there have been some very positive things going on down on the farm.

zoiloScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
Like many of the teams located in the northeast, the RailRiders’ April was interrupted by the slow departure of winter (if in fact it has left…). They had nine games postponed due to rain, snow or inclement weather, in addition to battling through some chilly games. At the end of April, Scranton had an 11-13 record, while not the strong start the RailRiders had hoped for, it hasn’t put them too far behind Buffalo and Pawtucket, who both started the year a little stronger and lead the IL North Division.… Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report: 4/29/14

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lost to Durham 6-5:
The RailRiders started the game with a solo homer from Antoan Richardson for a 1-0 lead. Durham had their first of two big innings in the bottom of the second. Vince Belnome lined a single to center and Mike Fontenot did the same with one out. A force out at second by Robby Price put runners on the corners with two outs, but a triple by Ray Olmedo put the Bulls up 2-1. Eddy Rodriguez followed with a single and the RailRiders trailed by two. A double by Ramon Flores was wasted in the third inning, as were back-to-back singles by Russ Canzler and Ronnier Mustelier in the fourth. Flores hit a solo homer in the fifth and Richardson followed with a walk. He stole second and scored on a single to left by Dean Anna, tying the game at 3-3. Mustelier doubled to start the sixth and moved to third on a sac bunt by Pirela.… Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report: 4/28/14

I am running late today, so it is a bullet point kind of day…

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beat Durham 10-8 (13 innings):

  • In a game that went back and forth, Durham took a two run lead in the first, only to have the RailRiders pull ahead 5-2 in the fourth. The Bulls scored four in the fifth for a 6-5 advantage, but Scranton once more had an answer, plating two runs in the sixth and another in the eighth for an 8-6 lead.
  • A pair of former Yankees came up big in the bottom of the ninth, as Justin Christian singled and Wilson Betemit homered, sending the game to extra innings.
  • Both teams had a chance to pull ahead in extras, including the top of the twelfth, when Scranton had runners on the corners with no outs.
  • It was a homer by Zelous Wheeler, just back from the DL, that put the RailRiders ahead for good in the top of the thirteenth. Dean Anna singled and scored on a single by Russ Canzler for some insurance, as Scranton won 10-8.
Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report: 4/27/14

Scranton lost to Durham 6-4:
The RailRiders drew first blood as Russ Canzler knocked a solo homer to left in the top of the second. Jerry Sands did the same in the bottom of the inning, tying the game at one run apiece. Ramon Flores started the third with a walk and it was Zoilo Almonte’s turn to go yard, giving Scranton the 3-1 edge. They held that lead until the bottom of the fifth, when Durham put together a nice rally. Eddy Rodriguez singled to right and Justin Christian and Vince Belnome hit back-to-back singles, bringing home Rodriguez. A single from Wilson Betemit scored Christian and Sands hit a sac fly to center to plate Belnome for the 4-3 Bulls lead. The RailRiders went down in order in the sixth, but were able to tie the score in the seventh. Canzler drew a walk, but Austin Romine hit into a double play. Antoan Richardson was hit by a pitch and scored when Flores drove a double to left.… Click here to read the rest