Why the Yankees are the Best at Scouting and Developing Relief Pitchers

Over 20 years ago, the Yankees began developing the greatest failed starting pitcher in history, Mariano Rivera. With Hughes and Chamberlain in constant rotation/bullpen limbo over the last few years, you could make a case that not much has changed in two decades. Banuelos and Betances should see regular starts in the later part of 2012 or sometime during the 2013 season, but if they don’t immediately pitch into the middle of the rotation, we’ll hear the same discussion about how poorly the Yankees have developed starting pitchers. Regardless, the team remains the best organization at scouting and developing relief pitchers.

Of the top 15 relief pitchers in 2011, according to ERA, five were graduates of the Yankees’ minor league system. (David Robertson 1.08, Tyler Clippard 1.83, Mariano Rivera 1.91, John Axford 1.95, and Alfredo Aceves 2.03) Three of the top six saves leaders in 2011 were drafted or signed by the team. (John Axford 46, Mariano Rivera 44, and Drew Storen 43) Three of the top five holds leaders were also drafted or signed by the Yankees.… Click here to read the rest

BoSox pick up first win of 2011 season; beat Yanks 9-6 in textbook Fenway Park slugfest

Pretty much sums up this afternoon's game for the Yankees (photo c/o The AP)

A predictably ugly game lived up to its ugliness, as Phil Hughes — who appeared to have even less command though slightly more velocity than he did in first ineffective outing — was battered for six earned runs on seven hits, two walks and zero strikeouts over a measly two innings, and the Red Sox picked up their first victory of the 2011 season, winning 9-6.

Phil’s four-seamer averaged 89.8mph and topped out at 91.9, so he actually did have slightly more pep on it this time around (though according to the PitchFX data he only threw it nine times) — ditto the cutter, which averaged 87.3, up four miles per hour from his first start and much closer to where it needed to be.

However, after a Dustin Pedroia solo shot in the first inning, Hughes may as well have put the ball on a tee in the second, as five more Red Sox runs came around to score.… Click here to read the rest

Aceves and Gardner Require Surgery

Mark Feinsand with the news:

Alfredo Aceves had surgery on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital to repair a fractured left clavicle sustained in a bicycle-riding accident in Mexico. Surgery was performed by Yankees Team Physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad. Aceves has been prescribed six weeks of initial rest and will need a total of three months for full rehabilitation.

Brett Gardner is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for right wrist tendinitis. He is expected to be ready for the start of spring training.

Gardner dealt with wrist issues for much of the second half of the season, and many have theorized that his statistical dip in that portion of the year can be attributed to the injury. Gardner did hit fewer line drives down the stretch than he did in the two months prior to the injury, so there may be something to this theory.

As for Aceves, I doubt the Yankees are counting on him to be a major cog in the 2011 bullpen, but he could be a pleasant surprise if he can return to full strength and perform as he did prior to his back injury.… Click here to read the rest

Pitching Updates: Hughes, Marte, Aceves

Joe Girardi provided the Yankee beat writers with three little nuggets of news about Yankee pitchers this morning. Mark Feinsand has the scoop:

Phil Hughes will be skipped one start in the Yankees rotation to limit his innings, Joe Girardi said before Wednesday’s series finale against Baltimore. Dustin Moseley will start Sunday in Texas, and Hughes will return to the rotation next Wednesday in Tampa.

Also, Girardi said Alfredo Aceves (back) will not return this season, and Damaso Marte (shoulder) will “probably not” be back in 2010.

The news on Hughes has been a long time coming. He has thrown more innings this season than ever before in his career, and the baseline high that the Yankees seem to be using comes from 2006. He has already thrown 50 or so more innings than he did in any of the previous three seasons. Whether due to a tired arm or something else, Phil’s stuff seems to have suffered over the last few weeks, with his fastball command lacking and his cutter having little bite.… Click here to read the rest

Some Yankee Goings On

There are a few things bouncing about in Yankee land, and here’s what I think of them…

First off, after last night’s performance, how much longer does Chad Gaudin have in pinstripes? I feel like we’ve asked this question at least five times, yet Gaudin’s still survived. I’d have no problem with getting rid of Gaudin and recalling Jonathan Albaladejo. This could also free up a 40-man spot if the Yankees want to add anyone before September 1st. It also could clear roster space if the Yankees make a late waiver trade…

…because they’re apparently interested in Hiroki Kuroda. This wouldn’t be a bad move, even though his salary for the rest of the year, about $2.7M, as it could help solidify the rotation and could, as reader Jamal said last night, he could become the Yankees best right handed starter because…

…Javier Vazquez will have his next start skipped in favor of Ivan Nova. This may be a little too soon on Nova, but with the way Javy has pitched of late, it’s hard to argue with.… Click here to read the rest

Grading the Yankees

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News ran a piece today in which he graded the Yankees. I’m going to tell you which ones I agree and disagree with.

Let’s just get the ones I agree with out of the way. I agree with Mo’s, Andy’s, Gardner’s, CC’s, Marte’s, Rodriguez’s, Thames’s, Vazquez’s, Burnett’s, Tex’s, Robertson’s, and Joba’s. I agree with the first four because they’re having great seasons. With Gardner, he’s exceeding expectations. Marte’s doing his job, as is Thames; A-Rod is doing okay considering his possibly health scenario, but he could be better, the same goes for Tex even with a recent hot streak. Burnett and Javy have been up and down, as have Robertson and Joba. Lastly, I agree with Derek Jeter. I was going to knock him down a bit ’cause of his lack of hitting–it’d be nice to see more patience and power–but his fielding has stayed hot. Anyway, onto the fun part: the disagreements.… Click here to read the rest

Romulo the Reliever

With the recent setback to Alfredo Aceves in his rehab from a back issue, we’ve learned that hard throwing Romulo Sanchez has been shifted to the bullpen, foreshadowing a recall to the Major Leagues.

I like this plan a lot. Romulo doesn’t have much of a ceiling as a starter and even if he did, there likely isn’t going to be room for him in the next year or so. Also, Sanchez just turned 26 in April, so while he’s got time, he’s not as young as other pitchers in the system and it may be time to convert him to a full time reliever so the Yankees can get some value out of him.

I think Romulo can make a successful transition to the bullpen for a few reasons. First is his arm. Everything we hear about Romulo is that he throws incredibly hard and that was proved during his appearance with the Yankees earlier in the season. His fastball averaged 95.6 MPH in his 3.2 inning stint in Boston.… Click here to read the rest

What if Ace Has to Stay up the Sleeve?

(Yes I know my title is incredibly cliched)

So we’ve gotten word that Alfredo Aceves suffered a set back while throwing on flat ground and will see a doctor soon. If the prognosis isn’t good and Aceves must be sent do the 60-day DL, there may be a bit of a strain put on the Yankee bullpen.

As it is now, the Yankees have three guys that can give multiple innings with ease: Chan Ho Park (CHoP), Sergio Mitre, and the recently re-signed Chad Gaudin. If Aceves has to be out for a long time, there needs to be improvement from Park, steadiness from Mitre, and progression from Gaudin.

Starting with Park, he’s been downright unimpressive in his brief time with the Yankees. He’s sporting an ERA over 7, an FIP pushing 9, and an xFIP just over 5. The results, aside from one game, have been ugly. Park isn’t making a ton of money this season and his salary will be easy to eat if the Yankees become dissatisfied with him.… Click here to read the rest

Injury Updates

Yesterday, Chad Jennings had some injury updates. Let’s take a look and see what we’ve got.

1. Jorge Posada hopes to be back in the lineup. That’s great news, as Posada’s bat makes the lineup that much more dangerous again. His 2010 line sits at .326/.406/.618/1.024, .441 wOBA, 180 wRC+. Posada coming back could mean either a night off for Frankie Cervelli or he could DH.

2. Alfredo Aceves will play catch tomorrow. That’s good news. His return to the bullpen will help a lot as the Yankees will have someone who can actually give length.

3. Curtis Granderson is taking swings and running pain free, which is fantastic. Like Posada’s, Granderson’s eventual return to the lineup recircularizes it. It will push Randy Winn back to the bench, though he’s hit well in May.

4. Nick Swisher hopes to be in the lineup tonight. It’s always nice to see Swish.

5. With Nick Johnson out, it appears that Juan Miranda will get regular starts at DH.… Click here to read the rest