Yanks To Try Refsnyder At Third Base This Spring

Looks like we can consider Rob Refsnyder the early favorite for the 25th roster spot now.  After moving him to second base when he was drafted, staying committed to making him an everyday second baseman for the last few years, and presumably shopping him as such on the trade market, the Yankees have switched course on Refsnyder and will try him at third base this spring.  Team decision makers held a meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the possibility, decided it was worth a shot, and Refsnyder worked out at third base during the first full-squad workout yesterday.

The move was somewhat unexpected considering the team’s recent commitment to keeping Refsnyder at second and previous comments by Brian Cashman stating the team would not consider moving Refsnyder from that spot.  But as the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention and finding a reliable backup third baseman is a major necessity this spring.  Chase Headley showed a lot of disconcerting signs in his performance last year and there isn’t another viable backup anywhere on the current roster.  Alex Rodriguez and his old hips are staying at DH, Starlin Castro is going to get some time at third as well to see if he can handle the position, and Dustin Ackley looks like he’s going to be primarily a first baseman/5th outfielder.  The Yankees really have nothing to lose trying Refsnyder at third, nor does Refsnyder.  Given the team’s acquisition of Castro, this could be Refsnyder’s best chance at nailing down a Major League job.

He will have to prove that he can play the position, however, and there are a few things working against him in that department.  Third base is about quick movements and reaction times, skills that don’t come into play a lot at second base or in right field.  Typically you want a guy with a strong arm at third base to make the long throws across the diamond, and Refsnyder is not known to have a strong arm.  His throwing arm might be the weakest part of his defensive game, which is part of the reason he got moved to second base in the first place.  He won’t have to worry about foot placement and movement around the bag to turn a double play, but third base and second base are completely different worlds and it’s going to be a challenge for Refsnyder to show he’s got what it takes to handle the hot corner in a short amount of time. Continue reading Yanks To Try Refsnyder At Third Base This Spring

Quick hit: Ortiz wants a Yankee Stadium standing ovation

ortizbleh

In the midst of his media blitz during his last first week of Spring Training, soon to be retiring Boston slugger David Ortiz said a number of things that didn’t make sense. Before he said that he felt bad for guys like Jose Reyes when they are charged with domestic violence, the big, jolly Ortiz told reporters that he wanted to receive a standing ovation during his last game at Yankee Stadium on September 29.

“You know what I want most of all?” Ortiz said. “I would love it if the fans at Yankee Stadium gave me a standing ovation.

Awwwww, that’s adorable. But David, come on, man. Are you out of your damn mind?

Yankee fans don’t like you. You played a huge part in one of the worst events in this franchise’s history. If anything, any standing ovation you get would not be because the fans are paying tribute to you, it will be because they are rejoicing that you will no longer be seen in Yankee Stadium ever again.

The angels will sing, the people will dance, and the sun will shine as brightly as it can. David Ortiz will no longer torment us!

Hallelujah! Ding, ding, the witch is dead!

[To the Boston fans who will no doubt come here and claim I’m being mean to poor David Ortiz: Calm down. This is obvious sarcasm.] Continue reading Quick hit: Ortiz wants a Yankee Stadium standing ovation

Thursday Morning Links: 2/25/16

First full squad workout today.  So many drills, so many hills.  Here are some links:

– On Monday, Ben Diamond of BP Bronx previewed the primary ST roster battles.

– On Tuesday, Mike Axisa looked at Luis Severino’s slider and how Severino can improve it to become even more effective in 2016.

– Brendan Kuty had the deets on what Aaron Hicks and new hitting coach Marcus Thames are working on to smooth out Hicks’ swing from the left side.

– On Wednesday, Chad Jennings got Rob Refsnyder’s thoughts on playing third base as team officials prepared to meet to discuss the idea.

– Wally Matthews considered the possibility of Mark Teixeira playing another 5 years as a Yankee.  Don’t worry too much about the title.  Obviously Teix can’t be an anything for life since he’s played for 4 teams.

– On Thursday, el duque of It Is High… celebrated the addition of the hill to the ST complex and what it means for this year’s team.

From the IIATMS team:

– On Monday, Scott weighed David Freese as a potential FA option for additional infield depth.  He’d make a lot of sense and he might take the MiL deal that Juan Uribe did not want to take.

– Stacey ripped the Yankee front office, specifically head stooges Trost and Levine, for their recent comments and the horrible attitude those comments express towards Yankee fans.  This is also the best title you’re going to read this season.

– On Wednesday, I mused on the plan for Aaron Judge and why there’s no need to rush him to the show this year.

Everybody is in camp (except for Ronald Torreyes), the first big team practice is today, and we get live Yankee baseball in a week.  Things are pretty groovy right now.

Continue reading Thursday Morning Links: 2/25/16

Quick Hit: MLB.com’s Top 30 Yankee Prospects

Prospect season isn’t quite done yet, even though we’ve already gone headfirst into Spring Training.  MLB.com released their updated top 30 Yankee prospects list yesterday and they bucked the trend by placing Jorge Mateo atop the list as their number 1 prospect.  Aaron Judge came in at number 2 with Gary Sanchez 3, and the entire top 10 looks like this:

1) Mateo
2) Judge
3) Sanchez
4) James Kaprielian
5) Wilkerman Garcia
6) Dustin Fowler
7) Domingo Acevedo
8) Tyler Wade
9) Rob Refsnyder
10) Ian Clarkin

Not a bad list at all.  Certainly a lot of familiar faces and in a lot of similar places to where we’ve seen them on other lists.  There’s plenty to check out in the rest of the rankings too.  Stats, scouting reports, tool grades, and future projections, it’s all there and it’s all free.  Definitely worth a bookmark for reading later in the week when you need to kill time at your desk before the work day ends.

P.S.- You’re outside of your mind if you didn’t think I was going to use this post to plug the 2016 IIATMS Top 30 again. – Here they are again: Honorable Mentions, Players 30-21, Players 20-11, Players 10-1. Continue reading Quick Hit: MLB.com’s Top 30 Yankee Prospects

No Need To Rush To Judge-ment In The Outfield

[caption id="attachment_80384" align="aligncenter" width="375"] Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

(That was my attempt at matching Stacey’s title from the other day.  It failed, I know)

Aaron Judge has been on the fast track since he was one of the Yankees’ multiple 1st round picks in 2013.  He breezed through the low-level Minors the way you would expect an experienced college hitter to, and he reached Triple-A last year after another successful short stint at Trenton.  Along the way Judge drew plenty of praise from scouts for being a better all-around hitter than they thought, and that added in with the rest of his impressive skill set surely helped build him to the unanimous top 100 prospect he is heading into this season, top 50 or top 20 in some cases.

Predictably, Judge felt some growing pains when he reached Triple-A last year.  Better, more experienced pitchers were able to exploit holes in his swing caused by his giant frame, and the talk surrounding Judge this spring focuses almost exclusively on the work he has done and will continue to do to close up those holes.  They’ll likely never be completely eliminated, natural byproduct of Judge’s genetics, but to truly reach his potential Judge needs to be able to handle better pitching and not settle into a low-average/high-strikeout profile.

Based on the early MLB success of top prospects Luis Severino and Greg Bird last season, the unspoken hope and expectation among fans and possibly the Yankee front office is that Judge will be better in his return trip to SWB this year, his swing and hitting approach will improve, and he will be primed to take over the right field job sometime later this season.  But in seeing how the Yankees have constructed their roster, I wonder if that accelerated timeline is still necessary.  The way I see it, the Yankees might be better served giving Judge more time in Triple-A to work on his hitting.  They’re certainly deep enough in the outfield to do it.

We know who the starting three in the Major League outfield are going to be, but look at everybody else on the roster.  The Yanks have added Aaron Hicks as the 4th outfielder and he can play all 3 positions.  They’ve got Dustin Ackley in the mix, and while he’s expected to take over primary backup first base duties he can also handle an outfield corner.  If anybody gets hurt, they’ve got Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, and Ben Gamel on standby on the 40-man to step in.  Remember that Judge is not on the 40-man yet, so the reality is he’s pretty far down on the depth chart right now. Continue reading No Need To Rush To Judge-ment In The Outfield

Chapman speaks: “I didn’t hurt anyone”

[caption id="attachment_80380" align="aligncenter" width="570"]Courtesy of ESPN.com/USAToday Courtesy of ESPN.com/USAToday[/caption]

Up to this point I have avoided writing my true feelings on the Yankees signing Aroldis Chapman because if I am going to be completely honest with you, I don’t actually know what they are.

Part of me is annoyed that the Yankees knowingly added a person to their roster who seems to have obvious anger issues just because he has an out-of-this-world fastball. And I’m sorry, but you usually don’t shoot off a gun eight times for no reason. Something had to set him off.

Another part of me is struggling with the idea that Chapman may have laid a hand on a woman and that she was so scared, she hid in the bushes and called 911. And sure, she has since recanted her story, and claims that she doesn’t know why she said that Chapman hit her, but a lot of domestic violence victims will do that. Just to make things better for themselves, at least for a little while until the next incident.

As a person who blogs about baseball and the Yankees, there’s also a part of me that understands the business decision the ball club made. Like I said above, he has an out-of-this-world fastball and he was cheap. As a woman who blogs about baseball and the Yankees, I’m also disgusted that they read the police reports and still decided to acquire him.

And yes, I know charges weren’t pressed against him, but that also happens a lot. The world is an imperfect place.

Can you see why this is all so hard for me to express? There are so many variables and I just don’t know how to handle everything.

For now, and until MLB commissioner Rob Manfred makes his decision on a possible suspension, Chapman is at Yankees’ training camp and he’s throwing bullpens.

This morning he spoke to the press through his interpreter and had this to say about his incident in the fall:

“I haven’t hurt anybody,” Chapman said through translator Marlon Abreu.

Chapman left Yankees camp Monday for an excused absence to return to his home in Miami to take care of what he described as a family matter.

A Davie, Florida police report from Oct. 30 alleged that Chapman choked his girlfriend and fired eight gunshots. After an investigation, no charges were pressed.

“Just, in general, I’ve never hurt anybody ever in my life,” Chapman said.

Chapman thinks that the media has been unfair to him and has painted him in an unfavorable light. He also said he will appeal any suspension handed down by the commissioner, if it indeed comes down to that.

He added, “That is not my character or the person I am.” Continue reading Chapman speaks: “I didn’t hurt anyone”

Spring Training News And Notes: 2/23/16

I’m having a slow mental start to this Tuesday.  Let’s ease into things with some camp notes from yesterday.

– The highlight of the day was Masahiro Tanaka‘s morning bullpen session.  He threw 31 pitches without issue and Larry Rothschild said Tanaka is “where we want him to be” at this point.  More from Roth- “So far there’s been no hitches or anything, so we’ll just keep progressing and hopefully it stays that way.”  No word yet on when Tanaka will face live batters. (quotes via Chad Jennings)

– Aroldis Chapman was absent from yesterday’s activity, excused for personal reasons.  There was some early buzz that it could have been because he was meeting with MLB in regards to the investigation of his domestic violence incident, but the Yankees confirmed that it was not that and that this absence was something they knew about ahead of time.

– Aaron Judge was one of a few MiL guys taking hacks against live pitching yesterday morning and he continues to draw a lot of attention and press this spring.  Turns out his locker is located right next to Carlos Beltran‘s, and according to Brendan Kuty that was something that Beltran requested and arranged.  He’s got a great reputation for mentoring young players in the clubhouse, so if this is his way of helping to prepare Judge for a late 2016-2017 torch passing, I’m all for it.

– The Yankees made the Chris Parmelee signing official.  As expected, it’s a MiL deal with a ST invite.  Via Bryan Hoch, Cashman confirmed that the team is looking at Parmelee as Greg Bird‘s replacement at Triple-A.

– The pitchers who threw live BP yesterday included Nathan Eovaldi, Luis Severino, Bryan Mitchell, Johnny Barbato, and James Kaprielian.  They threw to Judge, Dustin Fowler, Tyler Wade, and Jorge Mateo.

– In addition to Tanaka, other notable pitchers to throw bullpens yesterday included Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Jacob Lindgren, and Nick Rumbelow. Continue reading Spring Training News And Notes: 2/23/16

Don’t Trost the Yankees, they’ll throw you into a Levine

It’s been a few days since Yankees’ COO Lonn Trost said some highly questionable things about the Yankees’ new ticketing policies for 2016 and I have been quiet about it because I wanted to take the time to gather my thoughts and express them in a polite and reflective manner. I didn’t want to fly off the handle which is what I would have done had I written something on the day when Trost’s comments first came out. Here they are in case you missed them: “The problem below market at a certain point is that if you buy a Continue reading Don’t Trost the Yankees, they’ll throw you into a Levine

What about Freese?

Every now and then you get a really stark example of the unfairness of the universe, two near-identical folks faring very differently. Not that David Freese’s career earnings of $16.3 million warrant a folk song, but he’s one of the last still-unemployed free agents despite being a near-twin to Chase Headley. Headley’s last five WARs are 2.8, 6.3 (his career year), 3.4, 3.5, 1.1, while Freese’s are 1.7, 3.8, -0.5, 1.4, 2.3. Who’s a better bet to perform in 2016? Headley’s average performance has been better, but the decline, and the troublingly recurring back problems, are hard to ignore – Continue reading What about Freese?