Local Draft Prospects

Sorry to double up on you guys, but here’s some more draft coverage stuff. The Yankees usually like to take a few local guys at some point during the draft, so let’s take a look at what New Jersey, New York and Connecticut have to offer this year.



Top Prospects:

Aside from UConn kids, Jersey probably has the two best area talents. Carl Thomore (OF, East Brunswick HS) has one great tool which is power. Before a gruesome injury dislocating his ankle he was a plus runner but now is just average. He’s a hard worker, aggressive and has an average arm. Ideally, he’ll be an average to above average hitter in LF. Kevin Comer (RHP, Tabernacle HS) is a big 6’4”, 210 specimen that’s been a bit inconsistent. Usually he sits in the low 90s, shows a good 12-6 curveball and the feelings of a changeup. Committed to Vanderbilt, he may just go to school and get drafted higher in about 3 years.… Click here to read the rest

ESPN-NY Debuts With Uninspiring Lineup

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ESPN-NY went live this morning, and debuted the following roster of writers that will discuss the Yankees:

Andrew Marchand (General) – Marchand has been the managing editor for ESPN Radio 1050 AM since 2007 and has provided on-air reports for over three years. He also contributes extensively to his blog SportsClicker. Previously, Marchand spent ten years at the New York Post covering TV sports and as the Mets beat writer for two years. He will cover all NY area sports on ESPNNewYork.com.
Ian O’Connor (Columnist) – O’Connor is a former a columnist with The Record of New Jersey and New York Daily News and has previously written for The New York Times and The Star-Ledger. He has also been a frequent contributor and blogger for ESPN Radio 1050 AM for the past three years. O’Connor is a New York Times best-selling author for his book titled Arnie & Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus and Golf’s Greatest History.

Click here to read the rest

Two-inning appearances for Joba?

Could Joba Chamberlain pitch multiple innings – two at the most, the seventh and the eighth – out of the bullpen this season? According to Joe Girardi, it remains a possibility. “I think it’s something that you can look at,” noted Girardi on Saturday, after Joba’s first “official” appearance as a reliever, in which he tossed a single scoreless inning against Detroit. “A lot of that would depend on the group as a whole, and how they’re doing,” Girardi added. “Mo did it very well in ’96–probably as good as it’s ever been done. Because [Joba] is stretched out, he has the ability to do that.”

If the Yankees actually view Joba as a future starter, allowing the young righty to throw two innings in certain outings – not all, but some – would provide valuable opportunities to work on his secondary pitches. However, as Girardi outlined, that decision will depend on how the bullpen, which Joba is again a part of, is performing collectively.… Click here to read the rest

Girardi’s conflicting message

I read this yesterday and, to be honest, it sort of made me laugh.

Here’s manager Joe Girardi discussing Marcus Thames, via George King of the NY Post:

“He has had good at-bats. I don’t get caught up in the numbers. It’s a small sample.”

And yet, this spring, Girardi has basically said that Brett Gardner will have to prove his bat, and that the fifth starter will be decided upon a handful of exhibition games (“a small sample”). It is all laughable, really. For the most part, Girardi knows what he wants to do. He likes Brett Gardner and wants him as a starting outfielder, but he’ll push him to play hard this spring just to make it clear that he has to fight for his spot given his weak bat. He also likes Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes as his fifth starter and is simply manufacturing a “competition” in order to appear evenhanded in his decision and to encourage those involved to work hard for an incentive that is not really obtainable.… Click here to read the rest

Promoting Pat Venditte

As I see it, one of the more interesting minor-league story-lines for the Yankees this season will center upon the development of ambidextrous reliever, Pat Venditte. For those who are unfamiliar with Venditte, for whatever reason, and therefore are confused by the thought of an ambidextrous pitcher, this video clip from 2007 should help to explain what he is, exactly. Basically, he can throw as a right-hander, over-the-top, and as a left-hander, side-arm (3/4 angle). His fastball as a righty sits in the 85-89 mph range, and, as a southpaw, he generally works in the high-70s, low 80s. Venditte also throws two very good breaking pitches—a slow, looping curveball, which is used as a secondary offering from the right side, and a “frisbee-like” slider from the other side that is used as his main left-handed pitch. Venditte’s pitching style is hardly conventional, but it has been effective for him in his short minor-league career.

In 2008, while with the Staten Island Yankees and in his first season as a Yankee farmhand, Venditte tossed 32 2/3 innings and saved 23 games.… Click here to read the rest

The one free agency that I actually wonder about…

Jorge Posada will not go quietly. At 38 years of age, the possible Hall of Famer – given his position as a catcher, he is an interesting case – is eager to continue playing as he closes in on 40. After noting, just a few weeks ago, that he would only relinquish his New York Yankees uniform by force, Posada continued that theme in a piece today by the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch. “I’m not going to make it easy on anyone trying to move me out,” noted the fiery backstop, affirming his place as the Yankees’ catcher, despite their abundance of such talent in the minor leagues.

While everyone is quick to discuss Derek Jeter’s approaching free agency given its immediacy (as if he will ever leave, give me a break), Jorge Posada’s situation is much more interesting, even though his FA is still two years away, due at the end of the 2011 season. As Posada has indicated, his approach to free agency, barring a dramatic offensive depression, which can be expected at his age, will be a stubborn one, a hardline display of machismo and pride, amongst other traits.… Click here to read the rest

Some quick notes on Joba, Hughes

Here are a few quick items on the evening regarding Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain:

  • Sam Borden has an interesting piece out on the way the Yankees’ starters work with each other in order to craft and refine their own repertoires. A notable item from the article is that former Yankee, Mike Mussina, advised Phil Hughes to adopt a “spike grip” for his curveball back in ’06. Hughes tried the grip and has used it ever since.
  • According to an unnamed (of course) Yankee executive that spoke with ESPN 1050, on Wednesday, while facing Detroit, the first 2 innings Joba Chamberlain threw prior to giving up 6 earned runs were very good. In fact, the executive claimed that “he thought Chamberlain’s first two innings were the best he has looked in two years.”
  • Speaking of Joba, Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave Blues penned a piece on the right-hander’s reduced velocity, noting that he should employ his breaking pitches with greater regularity this season – and in the future – to counteract the loss.
Click here to read the rest

Hughes still working on that changeup

Although he is entrenched in the much-discussed competition for the fifth rotation spot this spring, right-hander, Phil Hughes, will continue to experiment with his changeup, in the hopes that it will become a reliable fixture in his pitch repertoire. “I’m trying to get my changeup down to where it can be a useful pitch for me,” said Hughes, after throwing 10 changeups during yesterday’s 2 2/3 inning-outing against Detroit. “It’s never going to get there if I don’t throw it,” he added. If he can master it, or at least increase its employment and effectiveness, even marginally, the changeup should be a most valuable weapon for Hughes in 2010 and beyond, particularly versus left-handed opponents.

In his short big-league career (192 2/3 innings), left-handed hitters have had some fun facing the young righty, posting a .274/.368/.450 slash line against him. The cutter that Hughes adopted last season, darting in on lefties, helps with that issue, though the change, sinking out of the zone, away and down, against lefty batters, should help him improve further.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks to introduce Towers on Tuesday

According to Tom Krasovic of FanHouse (props to RAB), next Tuesday, the Yankees will announce the hiring of former Padres GM, Kevin Towers. Towers will serve as a special scouting assistant to his friend, Brian Cashman, and will begin working in that capacity following his introduction. A good baseball brain, Towers will be a valuable asset to the organization and is an exciting addition to the front office. It will be interesting to see what impact he has this year.… Click here to read the rest