Reaffirming My Position On the Rotation

Mark Feinsand had an article last week about Ivan Nova and his confidence about making the Yankee rotation out of Spring Training. Nova was nothing if not confident in the piece:

“I’m going to win,” Nova said. “I don’t worry about if they’re pitching tomorrow or what’s going to happen with them. I worry about me.”

That’s awesome to read. It shows us that Nova is focused on himself and is greatly confident. Obviously, confidence doesn’t give you a better out pitch or make you get through a lineup more than twice, but it’s heartening. Despite this encouraging sentiment, I’m not changing my stance on the early season rotation and the idea of starting Nova in AAA.

Freddy Garcia pitched enough innings last year that he’s ready to take on innings in 2011. Bartolo Colon has been injured a lot, but he hasn’t embarrassed himself in Spring Training. That’s enough to take him north. Ivan Nova has more upside than the two of them combined and will likely end up with as many innings as both of them, but they should still start him in AAA Scranton.… Click here to read the rest

Mitre Injury Could Have Domino Effect

From Marc Carig:

Right-hander Sergio Mitre, the scheduled starter, woke up on Sunday with what he described as soreness and stiffness in his left oblique area. It was near the same muscle that he strained last season, an injury that landed him in on the disabled list for about a month.

As a precaution, Mitre told the team’s training staff. Though he felt better this morning, the Yankees chose to scratch him as a precautionary measure.

“Just to be on the safe side,” said Mitre, who didn’t think the injury was serious.

Mitre is one of the four pitchers contending for two open slots in the starting rotation. Girardi said earlier that if there were a regular season game, he’d be more inclined to go with Mitre’s request of making the start. But it’s a risk not worth taking in the spring.

It does not sound like this is a major injury, and if Mitre pitches on Thursday we can dismiss it entirely.… Click here to read the rest

2011 Yankee Second And Third-Tier Prospects Much Better Than 4 Years Ago

Former Yankee prospect Jose Tabata

4 years ago, the Yankee farm system was enjoying its first revival in half a decade. After years of terrible drafts and an overall barren system, the Yankees managed to very quickly add to the top of their farm system and become one of the best organizations in baseball, at least temporarily. I decided to go back and look at my January 2007 top prospect list and compare what we saw then to what we saw today.

The Top Tier – Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Jose Tabata, Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances.

The 2007 system was built upon a very strong top tier. Phil Hughes was the top pitching prospect in the game, and Joba was throwing 100 mph fastballs, while Ian Kennedy was actually pitching better than both of them. Jose Tabata was garnering (ill-conceived, as I pointed out at the time) Manny Ramirez comparisons, and Montero and Betances represented exciting young high-ceiling prospects.… Click here to read the rest

A Rotation for the Bronx and Queens

Yesterday when I got done teaching 9th graders about Chapters 18-20 of the second book of “A Tale of Two Cities,” I hopped in my car and started my drive up to my second job (one I actually get paid for!) tutoring kids for their SATs at Huntington Learning Center (many of my students are taking the SAT on Saturday the 12th, so send them good vibes). Anyway, while entering my car (155K + and still kicking!) I realized I’d forgotten my iPod at home. I was forced to turn on the (gulp) radio. I was given a quick refresher on how much FM radio sucks before switching over to AM; it’s not much better, but crappy sports talk I don’t necessarily agree with is better than crappy music I don’t like at all. After I skipping over WFAN because of the time of day (2:35ish), I went to ESPN to catch the tail end of Brandon Tierny and Jody McDonald’s show.… Click here to read the rest

Grabbing The Rare Elite Talent


When rumors emerged that the Twins would be willing to give up Francisco Liriano for a package headlined by Joba Chamberlain or Ivan Nova, Yankees fans and Twins fans alike were incredulous. Such a deal sounds too good to be true, as most thought that any deal for Liriano would have to be anchored by Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, or Dellin Betances. The Twins accepting a package that has Nova or Joba as the strongest asset would seemingly represent a major bargain for the Yankees.

However, there were some fans who were not quite as certain about making the rumored deal. Citing Nova’s potential and ability to contribute 200 innings, some felt that giving him up for a starter with major injury concerns is a bad idea. Regarding Joba, many still find his talent extremely enticing, and cautioned against trading him at the nadir of his value. While these justifications sound reasonable, I think they misjudge Liriano’s potential value to the Yankees and therefore largely miss their mark.… Click here to read the rest

On Prospect Hugging

The following was inspired by this tweet from Moshe:

People wouldn’t give Nova for Liriano? Madness.

To hug or not to hug–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous growing pains
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing trade them.

Like all things in this world, we must walk a tight line when it comes to dealing with prospects. We’ve got to decide whether we want the organization to keep them or use them as trade bait. We’ve got to decide how much (or little) we value them based on their ages, upsides, respective proximity to the majors, positions, floors, ceilings…and a whole host of other things.

The man point here, though, is the former in that paragraph. Do we want to keep (hug) these prospects or let them go? Again, we’ve got that we must tread on in a nuanced fashion. There are varying degrees with which we must hug our favorite minor league players.… Click here to read the rest

Creating A Prospect Rating System

In the past, I’ve toyed with the idea of a prospect rating system with a core structure borrowed from Hockey’s Future’s rating system, with some cosmetics borrowed from Project Prospect. I like the rating system because instead of just giving a prospect an overall rating (Sickels’ grading or Kevin Goldstein’s stars), it attempts to answer the two big questions about minor league players: how good can they be,  and what are their chances of getting there? It does so by assigning two grades to the prospect. You can see an explanation of the system at the link above.

I’ve designed a system similar, but in my opinion better defined, to the HF systems. I assign two grades to each player – a “Talent Rating” from 1 to 10 and a “Risk Rating” from A to F. They are separately ordinal variables, but do not interact. That means that you can say that a 7.0C > 7.0D, and that a 7.0C > 6.0C, but you can’t say that an 8.0c > 7.0B.… Click here to read the rest

Millwood rejects MiL Deal

Word came down early today from Joel Sherman that Kevin Millwood has apparently rejected the offer of a minor league deal from the Yankees.

Mr. Millwood has been a popular point of discussion here during TYA’s opening week: Mike kicked the tires on Millwood and Edwin Jackson and I posited that Millwood might be a good idea at this point. At the beginning of offseason, I balked at the idea of giving Millwood a Major League deal, but warmed up a bit to it on Friday. He’s gotten attention from the Indians as well as the Yankees, but Sherman gave no indication that the Indians are willing to go to a Major League deal and we haven’t heard anything about Millwood and the Indians since Februrary 12th and they were unwilling to sign Millwood to a one year, $4MM deal. Because of that, the Yankees should feel no pressure to offer up a Major League deal.

Millwood is probably a better bet than Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon or Sergio Mitre or Ivan Nova, but that doesn’t mean the Yankees should just cave to his demands and throw money at their problem.… Click here to read the rest

The Case for Freddy,Sergio and Bartolo

I don’t like Sergio Mitre. Anyone who’s read my work for a long time knows that I can’t stand the guy. He gets ground balls, but that’s basically the only plus. He gives up too many homers and he doesn’t strike people out. Every time he gives up a hit, I feel like it’s a rocket. Obviously, that’s confirmation bias to the extreme, but I’ll make an exception for Mitre (jeez, I’m really busting on this guy, huh? Maybe I should stop.).

I’m rather ambivalent when it comes to Bartolo Colon. It’s a minor league deal for a guy who’s been hurt, but has had a good deal of success in the Majors. There will be a slew of fat jokes when he pitches. Freddy Garcia is probably the “best” of the bunch, though that’s obviously a relative term. Ivan Nova is also up for a spot in the rotation and in a vacuum, I may feel like giving the job to him.… Click here to read the rest