The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Pinch hitting: Mike Axisa

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 19, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Next up in the Pinch Hitters series is Mike Axisa, who took a look at the Yankees minor league system after aggressive trades cost the team’s most highly touted pitching prospect and it’s top major-league-ready position player.

Mike is the minor league guru at River Ave. Blues and was the first blogger I spoke to via email when I began covering the Yankees three years ago in Scranton. The Yankees blog community is a remarkable collection of perspectives and ideas. When I was covering the Phillies, I remember one fan site that I checked occasionally. With the Yankees, there are at least a dozen worth visiting every day. Along with Joseph Pawlikowski and Benjamin Kabak, Mike has established River Ave. Blues as one of the go-to sites for Yankees commentary and analysis.

Click the About tab on RAB’s main page, and the site offers a concise mission statement: We write about the Yankees. 

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The Yankees have historically eschewed the farm system in favor of big leaguers capable of winning them a World Championship, but the team rededicated itself to building from within once Brian Cashman assumed full control of the baseball operations. Surprisingly, Cashman reversed course this offseason, trading several young prospects for established big leaguers, something he was hesitant to do in the past.

Arodys Vizcaino was arguably the team’s best pitching prospect, Austin Jackson was inarguably their best outfield prospect, and Mike Dunn was one of their closest relief prospects. Ian Kennedy struggled in his first 60 or so big league innings (who hasn’t?), though he was always just a phone call away if an injury arose. Phil Coke was cheap and reasonably effective, ditto Melky Cabrera.

Where do these moves leave the Yanks’ system? Surely you’ve heard of Jesus Montero, so I’m not going to waste any more of my limited words on him. Beyond Montero, the system noticeably lacks star power. Austin Romine is a solid all-around catching prospect, but he’s far from flawless. Zach McAllister hasn’t developed an out pitch and Ivan Nova doesn’t miss many bats, limiting their ceilings. Manny Banuelos has as much talent as anyone, but he’s just a teenager in A-ball.

This could all change soon, as the Yanks kept all of their draft picks and have several prospects poised to break out. 20-year-old righty Jose Ramirez ran his fastball up to 96 and held opponents to a .156 AVG last year, while switch hitter deluxe Bradley Suttle will be returning from a pair of shoulder surgeries that cost him all of 2009. The Yankees knew they’d have to be patient with Andrew Brackman when they drafted him, and he still has at least two and possibly three more option years left to figure things out in the minors. The amateur draft gets all of the attention, but the Yankees are a powerhouse in Latin America, and that market has long been the backbone of their farm system.

The recent moves have certainly thinned out the system, however it’s far from barren. Kevin Russo (.397 OBP in ’09), Romulo Sanchez (ask Chad about his fastball), and Reegie Corona (.917 OPS, 19-28 K/BB ratio in winter ball) are all guys we should see at some point in 2010. There’s plenty of useful pieces on the way, though it’s fair to describe the current situation as “Montero and everyone else.”

 
 

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62 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Mike Axisa”

  1. Thomas Robust January 19th, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Montero might also see some big league at-bats this season, it all comes down to what happens in the big leagues and how Montero reacts to triple-A pitching. No matter how his catching abilitys become he’s going to make it to the big leagues with his enormous batting skills.

  2. Erin January 19th, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Good job, Mike :)

  3. Yankz1 January 19th, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I don’t know why Jorge Vazquez is not being mentioned in the mix for DH/bench player. If you havent noticed his career stats in Mex AAA and AA with the Yanks, he is a prospect and will be in the Bigs hopefully sooner than later this year. The Yanks even brought him to Instructs to work on his catching. That is where he started his career. I am not saying he is a great fielder, but he is playable at four positions. He has played 220 pro games at 1B, 150 at 3B, and has played corner OF. He is in minicamp right now…. But he mashes no matter where he is. AA, AAA, Winter Ball or the Bigs. If you want power and average off the bench and DH it is Jorge. He can change the game with one swing of the bat. And he is an RBI machine. Last year in Trenton .329/13/56rbi in 57gm. In the Mex AAA lg in ’08 he had .339/18/59 in 56, in ’06 .359/31/98rbi in 75g, in ’05 .379/33/96 in 71. At Trenton last year hit .394 with 6hr and 42rbi and a 1.134OPS with RISP in 57g. Jorge would be at .300/30hr/100rbi. He was an EL All-Star placing 3rd in the league in avg.(.332), 5th in HR(13), 7th in RBI(55) and 1st in SLG (.584) while only playing in 56 out of the leagues 91g at the break. Monster numbers in a pitchers league. This winter he hit a HR every 10ab. And the last 4 out of 5 were against pitchers that have had ML experience. He is fifth in HR in the league while only playing half the games. It is not like he is inexperienced! He is ML ready. In Mexico he was not just a great player, he was a superstar. He was like Matsui to Japan. He was on Gatorade ads, he played in the WBC hitting a mamouth grand slam in his first ab, he has won a Carribean WS, he has played in the AAA Mexican league since he signed when he was 16 years old when he was the #1 prospect in Mexico, and if you look at the numbers, dominated. He had many nicknames, El Chato, El Canonero, El Destructor. He could hit 5th in the Yankees lineup right now. He has big time power to all fields. He is a hitting machine. The Bronx will love ‘El Chato’!!!!

  4. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day January 19th, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Seems a rather harsh evaluation….

  5. Chip January 19th, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Repost from last thread:

    By the way – regarding Jon Heyman’s post that the Yankees had the sixth best offseason, I can’t truly complain if he’s including players in that list, but if he means just teams then he’s far underselling them based solely on the fact that he thinks they should re-sign Damon. Here’s my list – players included:

    1. Seattle. Without losing anything of consequence they added an ACE to be their number 2 starter, locked in a very good third baseman and an underrated first baseman and added a little more thump to their lineup. At the same time they watched their main rival in the division take hit after hit after hit.

    2. Matt Holliday. With no real competition for his services he was still able to get a mammoth contract to play where he wanted to play in the first place.

    3. Detroit Tigers. Yes they had to give up Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson but did extremely well for themselves in the deal. Not that the Yankees gave up a ton for Granderson but to somehow get two starters with front of the rotation stuff and six years of cost control for Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy is amazing.

    4. Randy Wolf. Do you realize that of all pitchers he got the biggest contract this winter and, I believe, the 5th largest contract overall? This spot could be shared by Bobby Abreu, Chone Figgins and every other player who was smart enough to sign early.

    5. Pudge Rodriguez. Coming off the worst year in his career and a year in which he had to take a make good contract from the Astros, Pudge managed to get a 2 year contract from Washington for more than double the amount he made last year. True this says more about Washington’s ineptitude than anythinng else, but it doesn’t change the fact that Pudge is a big winner this winter.

    6. New York Yankees. They are a better defensive team than they were a year ago, just as dynamic an offensive team, and got a huge upgrade in their rotation while giving up only 1 key prospect (Jackson) who could have impacted the team in the next three years, without giving out a massive contract to a player, and without giving up their draft picks.

    7. Boston. They are also a better defensive team than they were last year and because of the signings of Bay and Wagner they don’t lose draft picks for picking up Lackey or Scutaro. The hits against the Sox are that their offense isn’t nearly as good as it was a year ago and their bench has no versatility with Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek taking up two spots.

    8. Phillies. Would be higher if they managed to keep Lee along with Halladay but you can’t argue with the fact that they got the best pitcher out there and signed him to a very reasonable extension. Would rather have seen them go a different route than Polanco at 3b but I don’t think he’ll make or break the Phillies’ chances.

    9. Baltimore. They won’t make the playoffs but I like what they’ve done. They brought in a veteran (Millwood) to help bring along their young pitchers and also got themselves a good 3b in Atkins who is due to bounce back. At this point, I think they could be a sleeper to snag Damon if he wants to stay in the AL East. He would do well in that park and add some veteran leadership to their team.

    10. Florida. Yes they had to be dragged to the altar by MLB, but getting the Josh Johnson signing done (and at a heck of a good price) makes them a winner. Johnson and Ramirez are the cornerstones of that team and now they’re both locked up for the near future.

  6. Chip January 19th, 2010 at 10:03 am

    And here are my big winter losers:

    1. Johnny Damon. We all know the reasons – could have had 2 years 20 mil, now will be lucky to get 1 year 5 mil. Also sharing this spot are Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrera, Jermaine Dye and Joel Pinero.

    2. LA Angels. Lost their number one starter, starting 3b/leadoff hitter, and their top relief prospect to injury and have only added Matsui whom they are planning to play in the OF from time to time. This team has gotten very old in the outfield, and very young in the rotation. They have a weak pen and the Mariners have gotten much better. Not a great combination.

    3. New York Mets. Signing Jason Bay was a plus, but they have not addressed their glaring need in the rotation, haven’t signed a catcher, lost thier best player before the season even starts to an injury that could keep him out until June, gotten into a controversy with that player, and still have both Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez under contract.

    4. Washington Nationals. I like the signing of Marquis as a veteran leader on that team, but unless Jesus Flores has a broken knee and shoulder I don’t get the Pudge deal. He’s old, he’s not nearly the player he once was, and he’s not the catcher you want to have bringing along your young pitchers.

    5. Texas Rangers. Trading Kevin Millwood was a good thing. Investing the money saved on Kevin Millwood in Rich Harden and Vladdy was not. Vlad’s going to hit, no doubt about it, but they are now a team that relies heavily on injury prone players. This was the year when the Angels were vulnerable, they should have gone after more sure things – the sale of the team does make it tough though.

    6. Atlanta Braves. Instead of just bringing back Gonzalez and Soriano the Braves went to Wagner and Saito, older players who don’t have health on their side. They also went from Adam LaRoche to Troy Glaus, and surrendered their top draft pick to the Red Sox for Wagner. They also gave up their ace for a fourth outfielder, a prospect too far away to project and a relief pitcher who doesn’t throw enough strikes. Throw in the fact that for the second time they have been screwed by a player accepting arbitration (Soriano did it this year and they had to trade him for pennies on the dollar; Maddux did it once upon a time forcing them to trade Millwood) and this was not a good offseason for Atlanta. Oh yeah, and they are still overpaying Derek Lowe.

    7. Teams trying to undo mistakes: Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo, Milton Bradley, Carlos Silva, Derek Lowe, Ollie Perez, Vernon Wells. All players that teams wanted to move to get their salaries off the books, some signed as recently as last year. The only ones to move were Bradley and Silva who were traded for each other. At some point teams will have to stop blaming the free agent system for not being able to compete and will start having to look at their own business practices.

    8. Reds. I get the appeal of Aroldis Chapman, but in a winnable division you’re telling me that the Reds wouldn’t have been better off giving that money to guys who can contribute this year instead? And Scott Rolen’s a good guy and all, but giving him a contract extension to shave a couple of bucks off this year’s payroll is just nutty.

    9. Boston Red Sox – they appear on both lists and not just because I don’t like Boston. They are better defensively then they were, no doubt. But Bay and Lowell out for Beltre and Cameron is a major hit offensively. Who knows what they’re going to get from Ortiz and Drew, they overpaid for Scutaro, they don’t have a great pen and were unable to unload Lowell or convince Varitek to decline his option and retire so now they are stuck paying the two of them a combined $15 mil to ride the bench.

    10a. St. Louis – Getting Holliday’s supposed to be a good thing but there are a lot of negatives to the signing, now they have to figure out how to keep Pujols. They also blew their budget on Matt and could have spent that money on a number of players – they have no third baseman since both Glaus and DeRosa are gone, the rotation took a hit with the likely departure of Piniero, they are losing Ankiel as well and no money to fill any of those holes.

    10b. San Francisco – a team in desperate need of offense and all they add are Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff? Really? Couldn’t have gone for Miguel Tejada, Johnny Damon, even Rick Ankiel here?

  7. Andrew January 19th, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Yankees have recently developed a number of guys that other teams actively wanted in trades, something that wasn’t happening at all pretty much from the late 90s on. Since it’s the Yankees, there are always going to be trades for big leaguers made because the team has to win every year.

    The difference this time around is that the Yankees made smart trades that help now and aren’t crippling for the organization’s future; they still have some guys in the high minors who could emerge and contribute to the team if a hole opened up & needed filling early or mid-season, and they have still got a ton of talent waiting to establish itself in the Low A’s, so the cycle will go on. More guys will emerge as prospects, and some of those guys will get traded (hopefully in trades as level as the ones that have gone down recently under Cash) to help the team win.

  8. Hoffa January 19th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Nice piece Mike. Thanks!

  9. sean January 19th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Chad/someone tell us about that Romulo fastball!

    and Chip: Kennedy went to Arizona, not Detroit

  10. Jerkface January 19th, 2010 at 10:14 am

    If you love Jorge Vazquez so much why don’t you marry him.

  11. Chip January 19th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Sean –

    Yes, Kennedy went to Arizona, but since the Yankees didn’t get anything back from Arizona, Detroit essentially got Scherzer and Schlereth for Jackson and Kennedy.

  12. Ed January 19th, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Nice post Mike. It is nice that teams now value our prospects.

  13. GreenBeret7 January 19th, 2010 at 10:22 am

    sean
    January 19th, 2010 at 10:09 am
    Chad/someone tell us about that Romulo fastball!

    and Chip: Kennedy went to Arizona, not Detroit

    ————————————————————

    It’s a big fastball….no matter what direction it heads off to. That’s the problem.

  14. GreenBeret7 January 19th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Suttle is going to be 24 years old in Tampa and still hasn’t much of a clue about what a glove is for. He’s a DH in waiting.

    Those that continue to ignore the bats of Brandon Laird and Daniel Brewer, both of whom will be in Trenton are missing the boat.

  15. raymagnetic January 19th, 2010 at 10:37 am

    “Manny Banuelos has as much talent as anyone, but he’s just a teenager in A-ball.”

    The “arguably best pitching prospect” also hits this description, no?

  16. bronxbrain January 19th, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Wow. Having Mike Axisa pinch hit isn’t far removed from having Albert Pujols pinch hit. Great job.

  17. raymagnetic January 19th, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Fits this description. Stupid iPhone :x

  18. gfd January 19th, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Big Stein trained the other clubs to let the Yankees draft the raw talent, and later trade them all as prospects with money for veterans.

    Cashman is shrewd and plans his moves and works his plan.
    When the hotstove started, Cashman said, pitching was his top priority, yet he signed Granderson CF et al, brings back Andy and signs the rest of the pitchers Vasquez,Mitre Gaudin last. Clearly the braintrust wanted the outfield handled first.

    Yankees still need LF help, but Boras isn’t in control of the Yankees, brilliant move Cashman.
    Of course Cashman never believed Boras would’ve misread the market so badly, leaving Johnny without a team, and facing a steep discount to sign him wherever.

    Yankees offered 2yrs 14M,and now the Braves are waiting to
    swoop in, if he’ll accept a bargain price of 2M a year!

  19. GreenBeret7 January 19th, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Ray, when you consider that Banuelos was a year younger and a level higher (not including a late season promotion to Tampa), Banuelos was possibly a better prospect. hopefully, getting him on a regular diet and exercise, he’ll grow some. He’s about 5’10″ and 160 pounds. Quite a talent, though, with great mechaincs and stuff. He’ll be 19 in March. He’s just about a year younger than Arodys Vizcaino. As to Vizcaino, I can’t really comment because all I know is what I read. I’ve never seen him pitch.

  20. Captain Chaos January 19th, 2010 at 10:51 am

    What about Betances, Melancon, Sanchez, and Horn for pitching. Pena, Miranda, De Leon, Heathcott, … Not to mention guys that are on the cusp: Cervelli, Hughes and Joba… System seems pretty good, some times you have to clear a few older trees to let some of the younger saplings grow.

  21. Rich on the 6 train January 19th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I like the concept of the article. I would have liked more detail. Maybe make it a series going by either minor league team or by position. Maybe rank the top 3 to 5 at each.

    Do appreciate your words and analysis.

    Also, any thoughts on Tatis as bench player. Is he still available?

  22. Mike Axisa January 19th, 2010 at 11:05 am

    raymagnetic – Arodys absolutely fits that description, and I would have said the same thing about him.

    Captain Chaos – Melancon still has plenty of time and will surely get a look this season. The other three guys just can’t stay healthy, but at least Betances has age on his side.

  23. Mike Axisa January 19th, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Rich on the 6 train – I’m sure Tatis is available, I just don’t like him. He might be a fit, but I’d rather just roll with Gardner/Hoffmann and take my chances.

  24. BrianM January 19th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    As much as I want the team to build a strong farm system and develop their own talent I do love the moves Cash has made. Last year as well Cashman moved lots of prospects (just ask the Pirates) but the moves have always been dealing from strengths, moving players who were unlikely to progress to NY, or moving guys (like Melky) whose contracts are rising and therefore their value compared to the free agent market is diminishing.

    I think the real difference now to the 90s is the balanced approach to trading prospects. We can’t empty the system for short term aging stars, but moves which represent both short and long term value, especially for prospects with limited ceilings are definitely worth considering.

    Even top prospects can end up as busts, so there it is definitely a problem when teams fall in love with their prospects too much and see only their best case scenario.

    Losing Jackson (and last yr guys like Ohlendorf and Tabata) stings a little. But we have made great additions without moving Joba, Hughes or Montero. Ultimately I like Heathcott as a better long term gamble than Jackson anyway because I think Jackson is a great defender and athlete (but we already have Gardner) and I don’t think Jackson will hit consistently enough in the bigs nor develop much power.

    This winter has been a bit lower key than last year but in many ways the moves actually represent far better value for the Yanks. Another great job by Cash.

    (and I am glad Melancon wasn’t a throw in in any deal I still really want to see him succeed in NY – he could be every bit as important to the pen this year as Robertson)

  25. Bill January 19th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Nice to see Cashman and the Yankees be rewarded with the 09 Championship partly due to the change of course he initiated in 2005. With a blend of talent from the system and veterans, the Yanks did it ! The tough part seems to be how to re-stock what you lost.

  26. raymagnetic January 19th, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Thanks GB.

    Mike,

    Just seemed like you were kind of cavalier with your description of Manny B considering Viz fits that bill as well. Thanks for the clarification.

  27. Rich in NJ January 19th, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I was opposed to trading Vizcaino for Vazquez because their system has been somewhat depleted by so many pitching prospects have had TJ surgery (the Gerrit Cole flip flop really hurt as well), and I wanted to see both Joba and Hughes get full shots in the rotation.

    In any case, they need the TJ surgery recipients to show some progress this season, and it would be nice if guys like Christian Garcia and Alan Horne could contribute something, even if it’s in he pen.

  28. SJ44 January 19th, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Folks who root for big market teams like the Yankees often miss the boat on what a farm system is all about for their teams.

    For the Yankees, its to build enough depth to wheel some prospects for proven, veteran players, as well as develop their own talent at certain positions.

    Its not about being named Baseball America’s #1 farm system. Its about winning championships.

    The Yankees farm system has been underrated for years. Just this year alone, a slew of guys from within helped this team win games.

    They also developed enough depth to bring in high quality veterans such as Granderson and Vasquez.

    As far as rating Vizcaino the #1 pitching prospect in the organization, that’s where fans and teams have a disconnect.

    I don’t know of a single organization in baseball that has its #1 rated prospect at ANY position be a guy from short season ball.

    There just isn’t enough information and production from guys at that level to make that kind of evaluation.

    One can love his arm and his potential. However, to label him the #1 pitching prospect in the organization is an incorrect evaluation, IMO because its not coming from the team.

    In other words, Brian Cashman wouldn’t trade his #1 pitching prospect for Javy Vasquez. Vizcaino’s ranking within the team heiracrchy differs from fans and websites in this instance.

  29. Chip January 19th, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Rich on the 6 train – I’m sure Tatis is available, I just don’t like him. He might be a fit, but I’d rather just roll with Gardner/Hoffmann and take my chances.

    Mike – I’m fine rolling with Gardner in LF – but still think there’s merit to adding Tatis. And if we assume Gardner’s the starting LF then the bench (thus far) is Cervelli, Pena and Hoffmann which means there is still room for Tatis.

    He’s a RH bat with power and experience coming off the bench. He can back up all four corners on the diamond as well as play a little middle infield in a pinch.

    The question is really Tatis vs. Miranda and given the fact that the Yankees don’t need another LH bat I give the edge to Tatis.

  30. Reggie C. January 19th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Brad Suttle is a high enough draft pick that if he didn’t recover from his surgeries it’d be a severe blow to a thin group positional prospects. Suttle didn’t hit for much power back in ’08, so I honestly can’t even consider him to be a better prospect than … David Adams.

    Mike, do you think Suttle returns to High-A for a half season?

  31. Chip January 19th, 2010 at 11:24 am

    SJ44 –

    I completely agree with you. Brian has said time and again that there are two ways prospects help your team. One is by coming up and playing for you and the other is by helping you get someone else to come in and play for you.

    A guy like Vizciano has a different value to the Yankees than he does to the Braves. The Braves see him as a player who can potentially help their rotation in a couple of years, the Yankees see him as a guy who can be dealt to help their rotation today. If they need a pitcher a couple of years from now, they have the resources to go out and get one. In addition, with international free agency, a guy like Vizciano can be replaced within the system.

    Greenberet -

    I don’t think people are sleeping on Laird – but my general rule of thumb is – especially with the Yankees – until you prove you can produce at AA or above you can’t be taken all that seriously. The three biggest talent jumps (in my opinion) are Rookie Ball to Low A, A to AA and AAA to the Majors.

  32. GreenBeret7 January 19th, 2010 at 11:25 am

    raymagnetic
    January 19th, 2010 at 11:12 am
    Thanks GB.

    ————————————————————

    No problem, Ray. Not sure where NYYs have Banuelos rated, but, giving his age, numbers and level, they must be pretty happy with him…especially since he’s he’s such a rare commodity, a young left handed power pitcher with control. amazing that other teams missed out on this youngster.

  33. Corey January 19th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    With King Felix now signing a contract extension with Seattle, I think it’s fair to say this coming offseason NY will be going hard for Cliff Lee.

  34. rodg12 January 19th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    GB -
    Do you think Laird has the capability to move to the OF corners? Brewer sounds like a very intriguing option for one of our OF corners. My question on his is whether he has the power to profile to the position. Any insight into this?

  35. Chip January 19th, 2010 at 11:35 am

    With King Felix now signing a contract extension with Seattle, I think it’s fair to say this coming offseason NY will be going hard for Cliff Lee.

    Corey – there will be a couple of choices: Lee, Beckett – who knows. Both have their positives and negatives.

  36. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? January 19th, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Oh, man – what in the world could I possibly have typed that didn’t get through the filter????

    Anyway -

    Thanks for your post, Mike.

    My post basically has the same general idea as SJ44′s. It’s not all about having superstars – it’s just as important to have a constant flow of solid players ready to help the team at any given point. Guys like Pena and Cervelli who certainly contributed to the WS run last season are invaluable. Having a living, breathing minor league system that is constantly fed is absolutely imperative.

    I also was curious, Mike, as to how much opportunity to you have to see the prospects play in person? I enjoy getting to minor league games when we can (we live in close proximity to Trenton and Lakewood) and it’s a lot of fun to follow these guys. It’s nice having a clue who they are if and when they arrive or even if they are traded. Only danger is getting too enamored of one or another, but it’s still all good.

    I think Cashman has done well managing the lower levels of the organization, generally speaking. It would have been nice to see Jackson and/or Kennedy make the grade as Yankees at some point, but I can’t complain about what they brought back. :)

  37. matt January 19th, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I just read Gammon’s article about Revenue and it mentioned the Marlins (winning seasons 5 out of the last 7 years w/ very small payroll) and credited their scouts. NYY farm system is much improved but maybe Cash “hire” a few of the Marlins scouts and build up the minors even more (Yanks are probably paying part of their salaries already).

  38. Chip January 19th, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Side note – Benji Molina has rejected the latest offer by the Mets. They are said to be focusing on other options now (Yorvit Torrialba?). I wonder where Molina thinks he’s going to get a better offer?

  39. GreenBeret7 January 19th, 2010 at 11:55 am

    rodg12
    January 19th, 2010 at 11:29 am
    GB -
    Do you think Laird has the capability to move to the OF corners? Brewer sounds like a very intriguing option for one of our OF corners. My question on his is whether he has the power to profile to the position. Any insight into this?

    ————————————————————

    I would think that he’d be ok in right field, Rodg, but, unlike Austin Romine, I’ve never seen him shagging flies in the outfield. Romine looked pretty good, but, moreover, he has the footspeed to steal bases and probably cover left field. He’d be my pick to play some corner outfield. Laird is passable at both corner infield spots. I guess, to answer the question, yeah, I think Laird could play right field and be no worse than Swisher. NYY has a lot of infielders. Most of the best of the outfield talent was at Staten Island and Charleston, though, I do like Brewer, both as a hitter and outfielder. He has a little pro experience at 1st, 2rd and in center, as well as left and right fields. Right is his main position, though.

  40. bronxbrain January 19th, 2010 at 11:55 am

    yankz1: You’re not the first person I’ve seen raving about Jorge Vazquez. All I know is that he’s 28 yrs old (?), has played nearly his entire career in the Mexican league, and mashed last season at Trenton.

    Does anybody know if or where he fits in with the team’s thinking? I assume he’ll start 2010 at SWB. If he continues his torrid hitting, will Cash, Girardi, et al. consider him as backup outfielder/replacement for Nick J during injury stints? Anybody know how the team (or other teams) regard him?

  41. CR9 January 19th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    All that has to happen is For Adrian Gonzalez to get extended, and Yankees fans will not have to worry for some time about superstars getting gifted to the Sox.

    If Felix Hernandez can get locked up, it’s not a stretch to believe A. Gonzalez can be.

  42. GreenBeret7 January 19th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Rodg, I missed the Brewer power question. Hard to say because he’s been playing in big parks in pitcher’s leagues. I’don’t think he’ll ever be a bomber type hitter. More line drive type power, but, he did raise his homers when he moved up to Tampa at mid season in the same amount of games. With the limited homers, though, he produces runs. always a good sign.

  43. m January 19th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Nice post, Mike. Just like a pro. ;)

    The great thing about the Yankees is that they have the resources (and desire) to build a winning team every year. We’re able to weather the inevitable cyclical nature of the farm system.

    Hopefully, there will be no “bridge” years in the near future!

    BTW, just saw that Xavier Nady will be ready for spring training. Boras doing work…

  44. Mr.Jigginz January 19th, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Axisa,you had me at “eschewed.”

  45. GreenBeret7 January 19th, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Vazquez is the right handed version of Juan Miranda Lot of bat, not much glove.

  46. bronxbrain January 19th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Two questions for Mike or Chad (or anyone else who can answer intelligibly–which I, for one, cannot):

    First, How pessimistic has the organization become regarding Dellin Betances? How might the scouts/coaches now rate his chances of becoming an average MLB starter? Less than 50%

    Second, I was surprised at how quickly after the season the team moved Brian Bruney, and at how little they got in return. Did they sour on his attitude (thinking of Frankie Rodriquez situation)? Had they finally decided that the guy could not consistently repeat his motion–that, at least half the time, he would function as a bases-on-balls machine? Did he fail to rehab hard enough after his midseason injury? It seemed to me that he worked hard to minimize his paunch and maximize his stamina, and that, most of the time, he was a dominant force out of the pen. What was the team’s thinking on Bruney?

  47. stuckey January 19th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    “To me, resigning Damon makes sense. I realize not everyone agrees with that. I welcome a difference of opinion. However, when someone tells me that something that makes sense to me- is not logic, I take offense.”

    Erica, I’m genuinely sorry you feel this way. But I didn’t say you were being illogical for thinking Damon coming back to the Yankees made sense.

    I argued ONE of the specific reasons you suggested why it makes sense (the Abreu comparison) was illogical. And I stand by it.

    Damon STAYING with the Yankees is not comparable to Abreu GOING to the Angels. That sentence alone makes that perfectly plain.

    You take offense to saying the comparison is “illogical”, okay, let’s go with you’re comparing apples to oranges.

    I think it’s safe to assume since it makes perfect sense to you and I don’t see it, then I’m making a mistake somewhere down the line.

    We both think each other is wrong. Not sure why that’s any grounds of either of us being offended.

  48. Mike Axisa January 19th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    bronxbrain – I don’t know how the organization views Betances, but he just can’t stay healthy, which means he’s losing out on development time. 214 IP in 3+ years is nothing.

    Bruney was a non-tender candidate. It had been four years of injuries and inconsistency, time to move on.

  49. stuckey January 19th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    “Hopefully, there will be no “bridge” years in the near future!”

    Likewise, but for the record, 2008 could probably be described as one.

    (passing on Santana, going with two rookies in the rotation, give Cabrera the everyday job, essentially saving their pennies for the 2009 off-season).

  50. Erin January 19th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    bronxbrain
    January 19th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Second, I was surprised at how quickly after the season the team moved Brian Bruney, and at how little they got in return. Did they sour on his attitude
    ***************************
    I still say it was his spraying champagne on Hal that did him in. ;)

  51. vin January 19th, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    “Bruney was a non-tender candidate. It had been four years of injuries and inconsistency, time to move on.”

    Not to mention that he was entering his final year of arbitration. I don’t think the Yanks wanted to pay 2± million for a guy like Bruney. A young, hungry, guy can give a similar performance for 1/4 the cost.

  52. GreenBeret7 January 19th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Betances’ injuries have come as no surprise. NYYs have know this was only a matter of when, not if.

  53. no way jose! January 19th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Tatis? when with the Cardinals had the shocking blonde fake hair?
    The same guy who hit two grand slams in the same inning?
    He’s 35 no thanks!

  54. The Honorable Congressman Mondesi January 19th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    SJ44: “… Brian Cashman wouldn’t trade his #1 pitching prospect for Javy Vasquez.”
    http://yankees.lhblogs.com/201.....nt-1216874

    That’s oversimplified. What if that #1 pitching prospect was the 10th best prospect in the organization and the 40th best pitching prospect in MLB? I’ll assume you misspoke, because making a blanket-statement like you made seems a bit foolish.

    SJ44: “One can love his arm and his potential. However, to label him the #1 pitching prospect in the organization is an incorrect evaluation, IMO because its not coming from the team.”

    So… Nobody can rank the Yankees’ prospects, other than the Yankees themselves? Mike didn’t say “the Yankees ranked Vizcaino as their number one pitching prospect before they traded him,” he said HE thinks Vizcaino was arguably their best pitching prospect before they traded him. Mike can’t evaluate or rank prospects, and his evaluations are “incorrect,” because he’s not part of the Yankees organization? That’s asinine.

    Also… You seem to disagree with calling Vizcaino the Yanks’ #1 pitching prospect, but Mike actually said he was “arguably the team’s best pitching prospect.” There’s a difference there. And do you disagree that Vizcaino, prior to the trade, was, at least, in the conversation about who was the Yanks’ best pitching prospect?

    In sum… I get where you’re coming from, but your thoughts posted above in response to Mike’s post are… a little disorganized, to say the least.

  55. Cover your neck quick January 19th, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Mondesi

    He’s on his self made throne and doesn’t like being wrong, run for your life. He’s a rapacious Doberman Pincher, attack attack the jugular!

  56. GreenBeret7 January 19th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    NYY has at the very least another 5 young right handers that have as much promise Vizcaino. Trading him gave NYYs a chance to fill a much bigger need at the MLB level than a partials season Rookie League pitcher will. If he makes it, it wouldn’t be for another 3-4 years.

  57. JMK aka The Overshare January 19th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    The system is pretty weak. Some terrible drafts lately.

  58. Doug January 19th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    No one thinks Vizcaino is the best pitching prospect.

  59. new post January 19th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    The way it goes——->

  60. Double A January 19th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    RAB is run by typical clueless Yankee fan boys. Every prospect is great. Cashman is God.

  61. Steve B. January 19th, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    “..Last year in Trenton .329/13/56rbi in 57gm…. At Trenton last year hit .394 with 6hr and 42rbi and a 1.134OPS with RISP in 57g…”

    Well, which is it ?? Chip, if you’re going to throw stats around PLEASE get them right !!…it doesn’t take much effort to do your research correctly.

    And what is the negative on this guy ??..he spent NINE years in the Mexican league (AAA level), and NO Major League team signed him ??

    Seems weird.

  62. Steve B. January 19th, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Oops, my fault !!…didn’t see that you were giving RISP stats…I will check with my eye doctor immediately. ;)

    But still what is wrong with this guy, if NO team signed him out of the Mexican league ??


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