Quick Hit: John Sickels Releases His Top 20 Yankee Prospects List

Prospect ranking season isn’t quite over yet.  John Sickels released the 2015 edition of his top 20 Yankees prospect rankings earlier today over at Minor League Ball, and I have to say I think it’s quite good.

It’s got all the usual suspects at or near the spots they’ve held on most of the other notable lists.  Luis Severino gets the #1 spot over Aaron Judge here, Jacob Lindgren is up at 6, Miguel Andujar at 9, and the older contingent of guys like Tyler Austin, Jose Ramirez, and Bryan Mitchell are still regarded as valuable as 11-15 players.

The biggest surprise on Sickels’ list might be Angel Aguilar coming in 17th.  That’s the highest I can remember seeing him on any list other than EJ’s, so maybe Aguilar is somebody I need to start paying closer attention to this year.

The whole list is free and comes with little write-ups on each player, so it’s definitely worth checking out.…

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Issues With The Incumbents: The Aged, Regressed, Switch-Hitting Middle-Of-The-Order Bats

Teix-Beltran 2014

Courtesy of the AP

As we continue to refocus our attention on the returning part of this remade Yankee roster, let’s shift said attention from the position players who are still in their physical primes to a couple who are not.  In a perfect world, a team getting 2 legitimate switch-hitting power threats who usually produce well from both sides of the plate back in its lineup would be a major boost.  In the Yankees’ world, the return of Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira to the lineup may not end up helping at all.

And make no mistake, these guys are switch-hitting studs when it comes to the back of the baseball cards.  Teix has a .914 career OPS hitting righty against southpaws and .865 from the left side of the plate.  Beltran is .862 hitting from the right side and .860 from the left.  In their primes, these were 2 of the best offensive players at their respective positions and 2 of the best all-around hitters in the game.…

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Report: Yankees Sign RHP Kyle Davies To A Minor League Deal

James Shields?  Who needs him when you’ve got Kyle Davies around, right?  Via Sweeny Murti, the Yanks have signed Davies to a MiL contract, one that presumably comes with an invitation to Spring Training.

You might remember Davies from his days in Kansas City.  If you don’t, that’s probably because he hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2011.  He posted an ugly 6.75 ERA and less ugly 4.39 FIP in 13 starts for the Royals then, and he’s been toiling around in the Minors ever since.  In 2014 he pitched to a not terrible 4.11/3.98 split in 124.2 IP for the Cleveland Triple-A affiliate.

Davies was never much as a pitcher when he was in his prime.  He owns a measly 15.7% career K rate and poor 10.6% BB rate.  He also had troubles with the long ball and has a career GB rate under 40%, so even at his best he would be a terrible fit in Yankee Stadium.  …

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Monday Morning News And Notes: 2/9/15

It’s Monday morning, we’re almost into single digit territory on the pitchers and catchers report date countdown, here’s what’s going on:

– The big news of the morning is James Shields signing with the San Diego Padres.  Via Chris Cotillo, it’s a 4-year deal for somewhere between $72-78 million.  The Pads were the favorites to land him for most of last week, so good on them for following through.  I absolutely love what AJ Preller has done with that team this offseason.

I was a fan of the Yankees getting in on Shields when his asking price reportedly started coming down last week, and for the first day or 2 it seemed like they were doing that.  That quickly fell apart as teams like the Padres and Cubs came forward, so in the end it was probably nothing more than the Yanks checking up, seeing what kind of deal Shields was looking for, and cutting bait when it was still 4 years.  …

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Quick Hit: Cash Sets The Stage For Refsnyder

Brian Cashman was a guest on Mike Francesa’s show yesterday afternoon.  He talked about a variety of topics, including where the team stands on Yoan Moncada and James Shields, what the expectations are for CC Sabathia, and the health of Masahiro Tanaka.  But the most telling comments might have been the ones about the situation at second base.

Via Brendan Kuty, Cash explained that the Stephen Drew signing was a low-risk one and one the team is willing to cut bait on if he doesn’t rebound from his putrid 2014.  He also didn’t come and declare that Drew was going to be the starter at second base, saying of Rob Refsnyder:

“The bottom line is, he’ll go into camp, and he’ll compete, and he’ll have a chance to potentially earn a spot on the roster.”

That quote should be music to the ears of the Yankee fans who were against the Drew signing.  One of their biggest problems with the decision was the perceived blocking of Refsnyder at second.  …

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So What’s The Deal With Garrett Jones?

Jones vs COL 2014

Courtesy of Getty Images

I mean honestly, what’s the deal with this guy?  He’s a right fielder who can’t play right field, he’s a first baseman who can’t play first base.  What’s up with that?  He’s got no first names and 2 last names.  He doesn’t know who he is or what he’s doing.  I don’t get it.

That’s funnier if you read it in Jerry Seinfeld’s voice in your head, but in all seriousness, I am somewhat intrigued by Garrett Jones‘ presence on the roster and what his eventual role on this team might become.  A commenter in the ZiPS post pointed out that ZiPS was actually pretty high on him, something I completely glossed over when I first read through the projection numbers, and there’s some truth to that.  ZiPS doesn’t see much in the way of average or OBP for Jones, but it does project a healthy .449 SLG and 21 home runs.

That kind of production would be very welcome from the DH spot, the most likely lineup destination for Jones and one of the areas of biggest offensive weakness for the Yankees over the last 2 seasons.  …

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Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 2/6/15

So that post I wrote this morning?  That was all the mental energy I had for the day apparently.  It’s been a real struggle since then, so don’t hold it against me if there are typos or words that don’t make sense in this post.  I guess being back under the glaring fluorescent office lighting sucked whatever good energy I did have in me when I woke up this morning.  Gotta love that cube monkey life.  Now onto the links!

– On Tuesday, Chad Jennings of LoHud laid out all the options the Yankees have to handle left-handed hitters out of the bullpen this year, including their group of right-handed relievers who handle lefties pretty well.

– On Wednesday, Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits examined the “is it worth it to sign James Shields?” question from all angles.  Definitely a good read if you want to factor in the value of the draft pick.

– Andrew, Tanya, and Jason of Pinstripe Alley unveiled their 2015 Top 20 Prospects list.

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Report: A-Rod And Yankees Agree To Meet

Well well well.  I guess some of those earlier reports about the Yankees turning down A-Rod’s request to meet and clear the air were nothing more than shoddy reporting/typical anti-A-Rod rumor mongering.  According to this report by Nick Cafardo earlier this morning, the Yankees and Alex have agreed to meet and talk before the start of the upcoming season.  Cash went further to say that those previous reports were untrue, and that this was the first time A-Rod asked to have a sit down with the team.

Between Cash shooting down that earlier report, him saying the Yanks are “more than happy to meet with him [A-Rod]” and Alex seemingly trying to do everything the right way, it appears as though all the A-Rod haters might not get the drama and shame they were looking for this season.  I shudder to think at what’s going to become of the Daily News I-Team when that happens.  …

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Issues With The Incumbents: Health At The Top Of The Order

Ellsbury-Gardner 2014

Courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

Because of the high amount of roster turnover this offseason, the bulk of the player analysis has focused on the new guys.  Will Didi be able to hit enough to be an everyday shortstop?  How will Headley do in a full repeat season?  Can Eovaldi improve his performance to match his stuff?  How will all the new bullpen arms get worked in?  Does Stephen Drew really suck as bad as he did last year?

While all of those are valid questions and some are very important to the Yankees’ future, it’s the returning group of holdover players that is more important to the team’s immediate success.  There hasn’t been a lot said about that group of incumbent everyday Yankees this offseason, and over the next week or so I’d like to shine the spotlight back on them and take a look at what they key issues are with them that will determine how 2015 plays out.  …

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