The Shallow Depths

Though the season hasn’t even started, the Yankees have already had their depth tested in two positions. Curtis Granderson‘s injury has opened up a spot in the outfield, and the catching situation has been much maligned since the Yankees declined to re-sign Russell Martin and passed on signing A.J. Pierzynski. And with Derek Jeter‘s ankle injury, we’ll see the infield depth tested as Eduardo Nunez and/or Jayson Nix get some time at short to spell the Captain.  On the other hand, the pitching seems to be fairly deep.

The bullpen is well-stocked and some pitchers (think Clay Rapada and Cody Eppley) will not last the year on the 25-man roster. Likewise, though not quite as widely, the starting rotation is considered to be an area of strength. It’s certainly a talented rotation featuring CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda. But is it as deep as we think?

Phil Hughes has already suffered an injury.… Click here to read the rest

Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling

As I am quite sure most everyone has heard by now, Manny Banuelos will find himself under the knife on Thursday, October 4th. What does this mean for the Yankees and the diminutive southpaw?

With respect to the Yankees, this raises quite a few questions that the vast majority of us – that is, the fans – are ill-equipped to answer. Why, with Banuelos having last pitched competitively on May 18, is surgery just now becoming a reality? How long has the team suspected it may be a necessity? Was the hope that rest and rehab would cure whatever ails Banuelos? How often are players able to avoid Tommy John Surgery with rest? Did the injury develop while Banuelos was on the shelf? Does this mean that Jose Campos will manifest a UCL injury?

The reality of the situation is that we just don’t know. It is quite easy (and somewhat cathartic) to blame this on the Yankees brain trust. After all, the team’s success rate with young starting pitching is decidedly underwhelming – the ‘Killer B’s’ are down to a bust, a reclamation project, and an ‘incomplete;’ Campos and Pineda combined for 24.2 IP this season (with none coming for the Yankees; Hughes and Nova have been inconsistent (though the former seems to have found something of a groove) … and that’s just this season.… Click here to read the rest

When Can I Start Worrying About Manny Banuelos?

(Am I the only one looking at the elbow there?  Courtesy of Bombers Beat/Bryan Hoch)

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

When Jesus Montero was jettisoned off to the land of grunge, Manny Banuelos became the clear cut #1 prospect in the Yankee organization.  If you voted for Gary Sanchez, more power to you, but a 21-year-old lefty with ace-caliber stuff and advanced command who rises through the system to Triple-A in just 3 full seasons gets the nod in my book.  After he put in some solid work in his brief SWB debut late last season, and impressed the Yankee coaching staff in Spring Training, my hope/dream/thought was that ManBan would be best served spending another year in Triple-A refining his command and building up his innings count to prepare for an introduction to the Yankee rotation as a low-stress #4 or #5 starter in 2013.  But with the way things have gone for Manny over the past couple seasons, now I’m not so sure about that plan. … Click here to read the rest

Why Banuelos Should Be In the Majors If Command Success Continues

The Yankees top prospect, Manny Banuelos, saw mixed results in the early months of this season. The left handed pitcher emerged out of the early spring throwing an improved curveball and a new cutter to compliment his already plus fastball and changeup. For the 21 year old pitcher entering the 2012 season in Triple-A, his success was never questioned by the quality of his pitches, but instead contingent upon his command.

In three spring training outings, Banuelos inconsistently pushed across 4 walks in his 5.0 innings, and through his first two starts with Scranton, he went an atrocious 5.1 innings, giving up, 14 hits, 6 earned runs, 7 walks, and only 2 strikeouts. He threw an uninspiring 82 strikes out of 155 pitches, a 53% strike rate. Perhaps just as we thought he was heading down the Andrew Brackman nightmarish career path that culminated with the Yankees last year, Banuelos was sent to the disable list with back problems.

Scouting reports from before 2011 largely suggested that the youngster appeared to be a quick mover, and his success would rely on his ability to develop his third pitch, the curveball.… Click here to read the rest

Our Expectations for Baby Rockets

April twenty-fifth, twenty twelve is no doubt a date which shall live in infamy within the Yankees Universe. Early that afternoon, news broke that Michael Pineda had suffered a labrum tear and would miss the rest of the season. The situation could have been worse – rotator cuff damage has effectively ended careers and Pineda’s rotator cuff is clean – but the prognosis is the nonetheless shaky. Hours later Phil Hughes failed to get out of the third inning against the Texas Rangers, surrendering four earned runs and picking up his third loss of the season. Nearly five years after losing a no-hit bid to injury in Dallas, Hughes is a shell of his “Baby Rocket” self. David Phelps came on in relief and promptly surrendered three earned runs in two and a third innings, marking the worst outing of his short career.

In short, things went to hell on Wednesday, and they haven’t gotten any better since. Hughes’ time as a starting pitcher may be nearing an end.… Click here to read the rest

Nightly Links: Recap, Banuelos, Blown Saves

The Yankees beat the Angels 5-0 today in their home opener in the Bronx.

Kuroda’s First Start in the Bronx
As a pitcher in the NL West, Hiroki Kuroda never before started in Yankee Stadium. As a pitcher who dealt with groundball issues last year, many questioned how well he would pitch in the hitter’s park aided by the short porch, and today’s results were certainly a statement to all the doubters. With an 8-6 groundball-flyball rate, Kuroda dominated the Angel’s lineup, going 8.0 innings, giving up only 5 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. Of those 5 hits, none went for extra bases, and only two runners made it past first base all game. With 109 pitches thrown, Girardi pulled Kuroda and sent David Robertson out in the 9th, where he put up all 0’s with 1 strikeout.

The Unclutch Players Come Through
I’ve heard a lot about Swisher’s short coming with RISP at the beginning of this season thanks to struggling in October.… Click here to read the rest

Nervous Excitement for the Pettitte Situation

On Friday afternoon, I was driving home from the Modell’s in Stamford, CT, having just bought my father a gift card for his birthday (original, I know). At a red light, I took out my phone to clear a blinking email and happened to hop on Twitter. I didn’t see the original tweets, I didn’t even see any retweets of them. No, all I saw was one name over and over again: Andy. As the light turned green, I was able to piece things together and the radio confirmed it: Andy Pettitte was coming back to the Yankees after a year away from the game. The only thing I could do was smile and laugh over and over again. Andy was always a favorite of mine and having him back in the Yankee fold will be a pleasure.

But of course, good news for some is bad news for others. The “others” in this case are most definitely Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes.… Click here to read the rest

Nightly Links: Hughes, Pettitte, Cuts

  • Aside from all the Andy Pettitte news today, the Yankees actually played a baseball game, a 4-3 win over the Nationals. Starting pitcher CC Sabathia went 3.0 innings and gave up 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts. Rafael Soriano relieved the big lefty with an innings worth of zeroes, but then Phil Hughes came in, and well… damn was he good. According to the YES gun he was sitting around 92, but at times reaching 94 and I seem to remember a 95 in there. He was hitting spots with his fastball too, as long as they weren’t up in the zone, but most importantly his curveball looked devastating. For all those complaining about the lack of an outpitch, his curveball saw plenty of swings and misses along with first pitch strikes looking. He finished the day with 4.0 innings, 3 hits (2 of which were hard groundballs off infielder’s gloves), and 3 strikeouts. Cesar Cabral also looked strong in 1.0 inning drawing 2 strikeouts.
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Nightly Links: Nova, Garcia, Replay

  • We have two games to catch up on tonight. Yesterday the Yankees faced their rival Red Sox in a pitching duel ended by an embarrassing Zoilo Almonte error. The good news is that Ivan Nova looked very good, pitching 4.0 innings and giving up only two hits and earning three strikeouts. Both Mariano Rivera and Boone Logan pitched hitless innings with one strikeout, Rivera earned four outs thanks to a Bill Hall error. David Phelps looked very good in 2.2 innings, giving up two hits, one run on the Almonte error, and drawing five strikeouts. (Box Score)
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