Giving The Kids The Keys

Zoilo Almonte

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

Call me crazy, but I saw something significant in the small flurry of personnel moves the Yankees made last Friday.  No, it wasn’t the end of the saddest SS platoon in history, although it did get a little dusty in here when I read that Reid Brignac was gone (not really).  It was the commitment being made to the young guys on the active roster that stood out to me.  In making that move to dump Brignac, call Alberto Gonzalez back up from Triple-A, and make Jayson Nix the everyday shortstop, the Yankees were also in effect giving the everyday starting third base job back to David Adams.  Add to that the insertion of Zoilo Almonte into the everyday lineup for Vernon Wells and it looks like the Yankees are finally ready to follow the demands of tons of fans out there and let the kids play.

In Zoilo’s case, the decision can hardly be questioned.  … Click here to read the rest

Should We Believe In David Adams’ Bat?

At the beginning of every season, we bloggers tend to have some fun with bold predictions. Not to toot my own horn, but I did pretty well in 2012. I had Zack Greinke being traded and headlining the free agent market for starters in the fall over Cole Hamels, then I had Jesus Montero, Michael Pineda, and Hector Noesi struggling with Jose Campos being the most impressive piece of last year’s trade, and then I had the Nationals’ starting rotation beating out the Phillies’. This season I predicted that the Yankees would have a Rookie of the Year contender.

adams

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

When I made this prediction, I was purposely vague, as I honestly had no idea who it would be. The Yankees have an above average farm system, but most of the top prospects are at least a year away from the major leagues. I made this prediction based on injury concerns, and knowing that players in Triple-A would get a chance at some point.… Click here to read the rest

First Impressions Of Adams And Romine

Adams vs BAL

While the unexpected success of veterans like Wells and Hafner dominated the early headlines, lately it’s the kids getting the bulk of the spotlight as the Yankees continue to get helpful contributions from rookies.  5 in all have made their Major League debut already this season, something that the Yanks haven’t done since guys like Mo and Jeter debuted back in ’95.  For a team that’s had its MiL system defined by a lack of upper-level impact talent, it’s notable not only for the number of players but also for the fact that the team continues to win ballgames and have those rookies be major contributors to those victories.  Vidal Nuno throwing shutout starts, Preston Claiborne getting late-inning outs in big spots, David Adams raking from the middle of the order, it’s all great.

Whether you’re a prospect hugger or not, something like watching a bunch of  homegrown rookies come up and play well is always exciting from a fan’s perspective.  … Click here to read the rest

David Adams Release Reaction

Adams AZFL

The Irrational Fan’s Take:

‘”What are the Yankees doing??  Why would they get rid of Adams?  He’s only 25 years old and he’s coming off the best year of his career.  He hit .306/.385/.450 and he can play second base and third base.  The Yankees are going to need infield depth this season and possibly next depending on what happens with A-Rod and Cano and they just gave away one of their top young players at those positions to clear a roster spot for Vernon Wells!  That guy Brad V. from IIATMS/TYA ranked Adams 14th in his Top 30 Prospects this year, so he’s gotta be good.

Not to mention the fact that Adams and Corban Joseph could have made a nice lefty/righty platoon DH on the bench if Hafner got hurt this season and then transitioned to second in 2014 if Cano doesn’t get re-signed.  I don’t get it.  How can they start playing Adams at third base last season and then just dump him for a player they didn’t even need?  … Click here to read the rest

The Young Guys Most Likely To Contribute In 2013

Opening Day catcher? Don't rule it out. Courtesy of the AP

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

There’s still the possibility of a blockbuster trade, something I think almost all of us are secretly hoping for after the excitement-less Winter Meetings.  But with the Yankees holding firm on their free agent signing plans for this offseason, and with that plan assuredly continuing into the next offseason when the payroll goal will loom largest, the likelihood of the Yankees having to use their top-level Minor Leaguers as more than just emergency filler or roster expansion fodder is very high.

We all know the Yankees don’t have much high-impact, high-level talent in their system, but that’s not to say they don’t have players capable of contributing as useful bench or bullpen pieces or even winning a starting job if it comes to that.  The only “top” prospect with a shot at making the show in 2013 is Tyler Austin, and even that is a longshot, but here are some other guys who could see some significant PT at the Major League level next season.… Click here to read the rest

Filling the Empty Corner

Before the announcement that Alex Rodriguez would–again–need hip surgery to repair a torn labrum, the Yankees’ roster situation was dire enough. Perhaps “dire” is overselling it a bit, but going into yesterday, the Yankees were without a legitimate catcher, right fielder, and designated hitter. Now, they find themselves without a wholly viable third baseman. With A-Rod’s absence looming, the Yankees will have to patch up the hot corner for an extended period of time.

Internally, they’ve got options, even if they’re not great. First on the list would be Eduardo Nunez by default. Though the team is committed to him at shortstop, he’s seen a good deal of time at third. Brian Cashman seemed to dispel the idea on Monday, but I don’t think it’s possible to rule it out completely. The organization does see something in him, even if I don’t. He’s been able to hit for an empty average (though he’s been better against lefty pitching). As for his defense, well…The other option, however much a long shot, could be David Adams.… Click here to read the rest

Some Glimmers Of Light In The Injury-Filled Prospect Darkness

Don't sleep on this guy. Courtesy of Mike Ashmore

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

This has not been a good season for the Yankee farm system.  EJ Fagan made that perfectly clear yesterday in his evaluation of the Manny Banuelos shutdown story, which was much more level-headed than mine.  By my count, the Yankees have seen 4 of their top 5, 5 of their top 8, and 7 of their top 12 prospects miss time with injuries this season, and have had another handful of their top 20 have fantastically bad years (see: Betances, Dellin or Bichette, Jr., Dante).  I guess the one good thing about all of this is that at least Jesus Montero hasn’t gone over to Seattle and started becoming the next Miguel Cabrera, right?  But fear not, Yankee fans, because all hope is not lost.  The injured will return to full health at some point, and further down the prospect food chain there have been some strong performances in the Yankee system this year. … Click here to read the rest

Poll: Prospect Most Likely To Breakout This Spring

At the moment, any vacancy on the 25 man roster appears to be open for a reliever. Regardless, a strong enough spring could force management to consider one of the organizational prospects. Zoilo Almonte has impressed the most so far, going 5 for 6 with a double and a triple. Top prospects, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos were scoreless in their debuts. Last year’s Scranton starters David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell were also scoreless, with teammate Adam Warren giving up one run through his first two innings. There’s also David Adams going one for four so far, a strong bat as a middle infielder who was only held back due to injury.

My pick is Zoilo Almonte, who has shown some very impressive numbers at his age, but has struggled when advancing to different levels. An impressive spring from the outfielder could put him in line to replace Nick Swisher after next offseason. The pitchers, Phelps, Mitchell, and Adams, could break camp with the team as a reliever or even as a starter assuming injuries.… Click here to read the rest

2012 Darkhorses in the Yankee System

A darkhorse in the minor leagues is a player who is talented, but flying under the radar. Most have yet to truly break out. I think that quite a few of these prospects are lurking deep down in the Yankee system. Here are the five which I think are most worth watching in 2012, in no particular order:

  • Angelo Gumbs – Mason Williams and Dante Bichette Jr. sucked a lot of the air out of the short-season leagues this season. That’s not a bad thing, since they are fantastic prospects, but it causes us to overlook a guy like Angelo Gumbs. His .264/.332/.406 batting line was not as flashy as Williams’, but it is a positive all the same. Gumbs didn’t turn 19 years old until this October, and was considered a raw project-type player when he was drafted a year and a half ago. That he held is own against competition much older and more experienced than he was is a big deal.
Click here to read the rest