Spring Training Midpoint Winners And Losers

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It’s been two weeks since my initial “Winners & Losers” post and a lot has changed since then.  Every starting pitcher slated to be in the rotation or in competition for a rotation spot has pitched at least one spring outing, every position player physically able to play right now has gotten into at least a few games, and there are a few new faces in the locker room to make up for the guys who’ve been reassigned.  It’s not exactly the true midpoint of spring camp, that would have been last week, but with just two weeks left before the games start to count and a much smaller pool of players to evaluate, this seems like the perfect time to see whose stock is rising and whose is falling.

Winners:

Juan Rivera- He came in looking to compete for the 4th outfielder job.  When everything is said and done, he might end up being the Opening Day first baseman.  …

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Quick Hits: Olt, Diaz, Teixeira

Good morning Yankee fans and happy St. Patrick’s Day.

This morning, Nick Cafardo published some quotes from a scout about the Yankees’ situation with Joba Chamberlain. In short, the Yankees feel that they’ve developed him as far as they can, and they are looking to trade him for Mike Olt. Take this with a grain of salt. Obviously the Yankees will have to kick in another piece or two, but considering the Rangers and Yankees have been scouting each other for around a week now, it seems like this trade is a little more than speculation.

As the outfield situation begins to solidify, the Yankees released Matt Diaz this morning. Although he was limited to just 28 plate appearances, the 35 year old looked burnt out with only 5 singles and 1 walk this Spring. The team looks like they’ll roll the dice on Brennan Boesch in right field, and the fourth outfielder will probably come down to Melky Mesa or Ben Francisco, even though Thomas Neal has had the best offensive showing.…

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Quick Hits: Heathcott, Logan, Boesch

Good afternoon Yankee fans. Over the last 24 hours, the outfield situation has morphed quite a bit, and we have some updates on how things are shaping up.

By now, everyone should be familiar with the Brennan Boesch signing. Although Jon Heyman reported that Boesch would earn an extra $600K in incentives based on at bats, Cashman clarified that it was a split contract, that would pay Boesch $1.5 million while in the Major Leagues, and $500K as a Minor Leaguer.

Boesch also spoke about the situation, and how the last week shaped out for him. When the outfielder heard about the Yankees’ interest, he told his agent, Scott Boras, to immediately get the deal done. There’s some more to the story, and it seems that he’s genuinely excited about the change of scenery.

In today’s first game against the Phillies, Boesch played right field, with Ichiro Suzuki in left field. The numbers say that Boesch is not a great right fielder, but Comerica’s right field is much larger than Yankee Stadium’s.…

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Yankees Sign Brennan Boesch

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The Yankees have signed outfielder Brennan Boesch to a $1.5 million Major League deal. Via Jon Heyman, Boesch will receive incentives along with his base salary.

There was some recent speculation about Boesch to the Yankees, following his release from the Tigers. Matt wrote about Boesch just yesterday. In his career with the Tigers, the left-handed hitter batted .259/.315/.414 and a 96 wRC+ in 1487 plate appearances. Boesch does have some power, but has struggled with his defense. Although he’s left-handed, Boesch actually has a reverse platoon split, and better numbers at Comerica Park than on the road. This is likely due to small sample size. Boesch hits to all parts of the field, but on hits to right field, he has maintained a .305 ISO over his career. This number should go up in Yankee Stadium, where the left field wall is much more hitter friendly than in Detroit.

Boesch has struggled this spring, with only 3 hits and 2 walks in 18 plate appearances.…

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Heathcott, Neal, Or Mesa?

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Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

We’re nearly two weeks away from opening day, and the Yankees haven’t designated a third or fourth outfielder yet. In recent days, Zoilo Almonte, Tyler Austin, and Ramon Flores have been optioned down, Adonis Garcia has suffered an injury, Matt Diaz has looked awful, and Ronnier Mustelier and Juan Rivera have been getting looks in the infield. The front office did acquire Ben Francisco earlier this week, but Cashman called him a bench option. Slade Heathcott, Thomas Neal, and Melky Mesa are all that remain.

On paper, Heathcott seems like an unlikely choice. He’s been in the Yankee system since 2009, but he has just 869 plate appearances thanks to a number of injuries. The highest level of the minor leagues he’s seen is High-A, where he hit very well this year, but would be in a rare position to jump from such a low level to the major leagues. Regardless, Brian Cashman called him a “dark horse candidate” for the outfield job.…

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Are We Systemically Overrrating Yankee Pitching Prospects, Underrating Yankee Hitting Prospects?

The Yankees have a lot of strong prospects in their minor league system since about 2005, when they began to turn around one of the worst farm systems in baseball. Some of these top prospects include: Robinson Cano, Chien-Ming Wang, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances, Austin Jackson, Jose Tabata, Christian Garcia, Tyler Clippard, Mark Melancon, Eric Duncan, Melky Cabrera,  Brett Gardner, Alan Horne, Jesus Montero, Jeff Marquez, David Robertson, Zach McAllister, Hector Noesi, Eduardo Nunez, plus the current crop.

I list out those names for a couple of reasons. The first is a little bit of nostalgia. I loved following these players as they climbed the minor league ladder. But the second is more important: it seems like Yankeee pitchers have on the whole disappointed a lot more, while quite a few Yankee hitters have significantly exceeded expectations.

I tackled this idea last season, putting the blame on the Yankee coaching and front office staff for generally sucking at evaluating pitchers.…

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Lame Duck Joe

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While Hal breaks traditional Yankee business rules to start contract negotiations with Robinson Cano, it bears reminding that there is another key piece of the puzzle entering this season in the final year of his current contract- manager Joe Girardi.  This season will be Joe’s sixth at the helm of the Bronx Bombers and other than the one post I wrote on the subject a while back, there doesn’t seem to be much discussion anywhere about his future with the organization and where the front office should put re-signing him on the priority list.

Joe’s status in 2013 isn’t a lame duck one in the truest sense of the phrase.  He’s got a 479-331 record, won three division titles, an American League pennant, and a World Series championship in his five years as Yankee manager, so his body of work definitely doesn’t merit a position on the hot seat.  If the Yankees don’t make the postseason this year, it will have more to do with injuries and the step back the team took in overall talent this past offseason than Girardi’s managing.  …

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Yankees Scouting Rangers’ Exhibition Game

According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Yankee and Red Sox scouts are in attendance at today’s Rangers game. This builds upon the trade speculation, after we heard that a Ranger’s senior scout was in attendance to watch Joba Chamberlain.

Of the players that could be available, today’s game featured David Murphy, Mitch Moreland, Craig Gentry, Elvis Andrus, and Mike Olt (at third base). Geovany Soto is unlikely to play today, and for those wishing on Jurisckson Profar, he’s off to the WBC.

The Rangers don’t have a ton of depth in the outfield, so I don’t think David Murphy or Craig Gentry will be moved. Mitch Moreland makes sense at the moment, but his defense in right field is awful, and there’s no place to put him once Mark Teixeira returns. Mike Olt is still a possibility, but he only came into the game in the 6th inning.

For inquiring minds, the Red Sox, who are also scouting today’s game, have similar needs to the Yankees, as they’d like to acquire some depth in the outfield, as well as a possible corner infielder now that David Ortiz is facing setbacks.…

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Afternoon News And Notes: Hughes, Neal, Huff

Before we get started, there is currently an untelevised game going on, and Yankee pitchers have been getting crushed. Jose Ramirez started today’s game and only earned one out before giving up 4 walks and 2 hits. Adam Warren came on in relief and was equally awful against the Blue Jays, giving up 4 hits and 5 walks in 1.1 innings. Branden Pinder fared slightly better by only giving up 3 hits in his 1.1 innings, but one of those was a solo home run by Mark DeRosa. They plated one more run, and by the fourth inning, Toronto was up 17-3. Don’t be too distraught, this is what happens when major league hitters face Single-A pitchers at this point in Spring, though Warren has fewer excuses.

Phil Hughes threw a bullpen this morning, and he said that he felt great on the mound. Though his command was off, he attributed it to the bullpen scenario. The right-hander also stated that he’s preparing to be ready for the 5th or 6th game of the season, but prefers quality starts over the quantity.…

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