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


Yankees organizational depth: Shortstop

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 12, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

In certain corners of the Yankees fan base, Derek Jeter is perhaps the least beloved icon in baseball. A vocal minority — at least I think it’s a minority — is ready to give up on him after the first rather pedestrian season of his career. The Yankees aren’t so pessimistic, having just locked Jeter into a three-year deal with a fourth-year option, but they are preparing for life without their captain. The Yankees top two picks in last year’s draft were shortstops.

In the big leagues
Hard to believe Jeter is only one year removed from being a legitimate MVP candidate. Concerns about production are inevitable when a player reaches his late 30s, but Jeter seemed to be charging into his twilight years before a sudden step back last season. Defensively, he’s fundamental rather than dynamic, and the Yankees seem willing to accept those limitations. Offensively, it’s hard to say what Jeter is at this point. If he falls somewhere between his ’09 and ’10 levels of production, he’ll remain one of the better offensive shortstops in the game. He showed signs of bouncing back in September, but another step in the wrong direction could be a real problem and would almost certainly force Joe Girardi to drop his captain to the bottom of the lineup.

On the verge
The Yankees know what they have in Ramiro Pena. He’s a terrific defensive player with a little bit of speed, but his bat is limited to say the least. The shortstop who seems to have their attention is Eduardo Nunez, who last year hit .289/.340/.381 with 23 stolen bases in Triple-A, then held his own after a late-season major league call-up. He seems to have made defensive progress last season as well. Beyond Nunez, there’s a large gap before the next wave of significant shortstop potential reaches the upper levels. Jose Pirela, who should open in Double-A, isn’t a no-name, but his ceiling seems closer to a utility infielder than a starting shortstop.

Deep in the organization
It was considered something of a surprise when the Yankees took a shot on Cito Culver as their first-round draft pick last summer. They backed that pick by selecting another teenage shortstop, Angelo Gumbs, in the second round. Three years earlier, the Yankees took a 10th-round shot on a high school shortstop named Carmen Angelini — they knew he was raw, but thought he might improve too much in college for them to ever have a shot at him when he was older — only to see that pick fizzle through bad numbers and a hip injury. Instead, the long-term, in-house future of the shortstop position might rest on the two kids who turned pro just a few months ago.

Organizational depth chart
My own rough guess. It’s far too early for the Yankees to settle on who will be where next season.
New York: Derek Jeter
Scranton/WB: Ramiro Pena/Eduardo Nunez
Trenton: Jose Pirela
Tampa: Kelvin Castro
Charleston: Carmen Angelini

The big league depth chart at shortstop doesn’t extend much beyond Nunez and Pena. Kevin Russo and Reegie Corona have experience at the position, but both are better suited elsewhere. If Jeter gets hurt, Nunez seems to be the best long-term solution. If Pena wins the utility job, he’ll be the guy to get occasional starts here and there.

In the lower levels, the shortstop situation could change significantly by mid-season. Culver will probably open in extended spring training with a eye toward making his Charleston debut in early June. Until then, an organizational shortstop — Jose Mojica, Emerson Landoni, Angelini — could get the Low-A job. Up in High-A, Castro is the natural fit for the job despite hitting just .224 in Charleston last year. If not him, perhaps Walter Ibarra or Addison Maruszak could return to Tampa, but as an everyday player this time. There is also the chance that Angelini could impress in spring training and get the Tampa job out of camp. Basically, the shortstop position in the lower levels is remarkably flexible heading into spring training. The upper levels will have Luis Nunez, Doug Bernier and Justin Snyder to fill some shortstop time off the bench.

Associated Press photo of Jeter, headshots of Jeter, Nunez and Angelini (milb.com doesn’t have a Culver headshot yet and I don’t want to steal one from another site)

Comments

comments

 

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88 Responses to “Yankees organizational depth: Shortstop”

  1. Retire21 January 12th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    What happened to Cito? Where is he?

  2. blake January 12th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Shall we name the vocal minority :)

  3. Chad Jennings January 12th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Probably going to open in extended spring.

  4. ac1 January 12th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Can David Adams move to SS?

    He is a couple years from the majors and should hit around the time Jeter may move from SS (if). 2B is basically locked up forever by Cano, so Adam’s should be moved to SS for the best chance.

  5. YankeesNmore January 12th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    The bad news is, Captain Clutch has transformed into Captain Crap at the age of 36.

    The good news is, his contract expired at EXACTLY the right time–the end of last season–so we’re not stuck paying a SS who has no range and no bat a lot of money.

    The worst news is, Brian Cashman is still the GM and we just re-locked ourselves into three more years of Derek Jeter, and for a total of $56 million.

    Past time for a change.

  6. MaineYankee January 12th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    YankeesNmore

    I can’t believe that you have anyone that reads your drivel on your blog.

  7. YankeesNmore January 12th, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    MaineYankee

    Believe it.

  8. austinmac January 12th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    To those Reed Johnson fans, he has signed with the Cubs. He never seemed of interest to the Yankees in any event.

  9. Roundabout January 12th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I’d suggest people wait a bit before declaring Jeter is washed up or ‘captain crap’.
    It is likely that Jeter will return to hitting .300. His numbers were down in 2010 in OBA – hits and average. His numbers were up slightly for runs scored, RBIs, doubles, triples.
    He had problems hitting the inside pitch – more likely due to his swing – and he was slower. He can make adjustments.
    He’s not what he was a few years ago. I wouldn’t write him off.

  10. blake January 12th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Jeter will hit .308 in 2011.

  11. upstate kate January 12th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I am very happy that Jeter is returning.
    For those who like to complain…who do you see as a viable replacement? Someone who the Yankees could actually get, not just who you would rather see.

  12. have a cigar January 12th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    YankeesNless = Capt. Buzzkill

  13. Erin January 12th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    YankeesNmore January 12th, 2011 at 3:27 pm
    The bad news is, Captain Clutch has transformed into Captain Crap at the age of 36.

    **************************

    :roll:

  14. Bronx Jeers January 12th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Maine,

    No one reads the drivel on his blog. That’s precisely why he comes in here.

  15. MTU January 12th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Blake-

    I’m goin’ w .307 .

    :)

  16. Erin January 12th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    BryanHoch Yankees.com: Cano, Hughes to be honored at BBWAA dinner http://bit.ly/ibFdm6

    Chad, I want to see lots and lots of pictures from this event. :)

  17. MaineYankee January 12th, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Bronx Jeers January 12th, 2011 at 4:01 pm
    Maine,

    No one reads the drivel on his blog. That’s precisely why he comes in here
    ——————————————————————————————-

    It’s a sad life when your goal is to annoy people.

  18. blake January 12th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    MTU

    That’s close. :)

  19. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    BoJo -

    How many guys do you really think are going to be pitching into their 40s? And do it well?
    +++++++++++++++
    A fair question…and one that is hard to answer given the recent trend of longer careers and subsequent crackdown on PEDs. If PEDs were still in use, I would have answered hundreds…without them, I am not sure if other forms of career extensions will be discovered or if players will revert to the old pattern of aging rapidly in their thirties.

    One thing is for sure…the large contracts make some players want to stay around longer. On the other hand, will even larger contracts in the future satiate their desire for money at 35 or younger?

    Summary–I don’t have any idea what the future holds, but am pretty certain that 600 saves is not insurmountable.

  20. yankeefeminista January 12th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Chad, don’t forget our very young Dominican SS prospect, Chris Tamarez who played in the Dominican Prospect League.

  21. Rich in NJ January 12th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    The next regular Yankee SS is not on that list, imo.

  22. upstate kate January 12th, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    There have been so many advances in nutrition, health care and training I would guess a lot more players would play later into their careers.

  23. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Doreen–

    In my mind, the 600 saves plateau is the exact opposite of the 300 wins plateau. Starting pitchers are getting fewer and fewer chances to pitch enough games to win 300 in a 20 year career. It is only the pitchers who start very young, have decent, consistent success, and have the desire to stay around long enough that will win 300. Right now, I only see CC, Felix, and 1 or 2 others who might make it.

    But with saves, the pitchers are being used with more focus on getting those saves, so the wear and tear on their bodies is less, and htey could last longer.

  24. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    upstate kate January 12th, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    There have been so many advances in nutrition, health care and training I would guess a lot more players would play later into their careers.
    ++++++++++++
    And who really believes that players won’t stop looking for PEDs that are undetectable?

  25. MTU January 12th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Blake-

    I prefer to talk about Minor league Pitching and Catching.

    :)

  26. Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Hey, it’s Ivan Nova’s Birthday today – per Curtis Granderson on Facebook. :)

    Happy Birthday, Ivan Nova!!

  27. austinmac January 12th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Blake,

    I am predicting .309 for Jeter if for no other reason but to allow either MTU or I to be closer. This is The Price is Right isn’t it?

    Now, we need Pettitte or other respectable starter to come on down.

  28. Erin January 12th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Happy Birthday to Nova! :)

  29. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I wonder what the Ynakees would have done with Jeter had they signed Cuban SS Adeiny Echevarria last April instead of the Jays.

  30. blake January 12th, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Austinmac…
    Lol..yes if you want it to be… ;)

  31. Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    If Jeter doesn’t decrease his GB% he won’t hit .300

  32. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I hear that Tampa’s Kelvin Castro can play several positions….in a sense, he is convertible.

  33. Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I hope his dedication to perfection and work with kevin long gets him more in line with 2009 and 2007~before than 2008 or 2010. Still want Gardner leading off vs RHP though. We need to get Gardner and Cano more at bats than they received last year.

    Gardner missed out on 160 plate appearances batting 9th vs 1st, and Cano missed out on 60ish.

    Imagine what Cano could do with 60 plate appearances!

  34. YankeesNmore January 12th, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    “It is likely that Jeter will return to hitting .300.”
    ——————————————————————————————–
    Based on WHAT exactly??? His being a year OLDER???

    Don’t know if anybody noticed, but guys don’t suddenly “find it” again in their late 30′s in this sport anymore.

    My opinion of Jeter is not based solely on the numbers last year… In fact, I wouldn’t even say my opinion is based MOSTLY on his numbers.

    My opinion is based on the way pitchers attacked him last season, and his results.

    By the time we got to June last (if not earlier) NO REGULAR in the Yankees lineup was attacked as aggressively with fastballs as Derek Jeter was. If you consistently get beat with fastballs, you’re done.

    Nobody was trying to “trick” Derek Jeter last year. They were knocking the bat out of his hands.

  35. Rich in NJ January 12th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    “I am predicting .309 for Jeter if for no other reason but to allow either MTU or I to be closer. This is The Price is Right isn’t it?”

    His AVG is really secondary. Jeter is what he is because in large part because he has been able to SLG for a SS. He actually did that v. LHP, but v. RHP he was awful.

  36. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Jerkface–

    Are you advocating batting Gardner 1st and Cano 2nd? Sign me up.

  37. Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Chad -

    I almost wished you’d skipped this position. :(

  38. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Yanksnmo–

    I think Jeter was hit by a ptich on his wrist in May that affected him for the rest of the year…It also happened before with similar results. If healthy,I expect a bounce back year.

  39. Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Are you advocating batting Gardner 1st and Cano 2nd? Sign me up.

    Gardner 1st, Cano 2nd or 3rd.

  40. blake January 12th, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I want Cano to hit 3rd but Id rather him hit 2nd than 5th again…..especially if Gardner is in the 9 hole.

  41. Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    BoJo –

    Castro? Convertible?

    :lol:

  42. Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    RHP

    Gardner
    Cano
    Tex
    Arod
    Swisher
    Granderson
    Posada
    Jeter
    Martin

    LHP

    Jeter
    Swisher
    Cano
    A-rod
    Tex
    Posada
    Granderson
    Martin
    Gardner

    This is a mix of what I want and I think will happen. Gardner really should not be batting in the bottom third. He gets on base too much. I’d even bat him 2nd vs LHP but I don’t think that will happen. And I hope the team has a renewed focus to lineup construction in order to maximize their hitters PAs.

    They can’t give Jeter the most PA’s in the league.

  43. blake January 12th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Jerkface,

    I could get down with those lineups if its evident that that’s what’s best for the team. I do think we need a little more track record on Gardner before putting him atop the lineup every day. I think he’s for real but we need.to be sure he’s more the first half player than the 2nd half player after he hurt his.wrist. They are going to.give Jeter an opportunity to.bounce back and be the player he’s been in the past…..hopefully he will be.

  44. ac1 January 12th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    My opinion of Jeter is not based solely on the numbers last year… In fact, I wouldn’t even say my opinion is based MOSTLY on his numbers.

    ___

    So in your world, Cano was done after his .270 average in 2008 or whatever year that was?

  45. Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I think he’s for real but we need.to be sure he’s more the first half player than the 2nd half player after he hurt his.wrist.

    His second half OBP was better than Jeter’s 1st or 2nd half. He still led the lead in P/PA.

  46. ac1 January 12th, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    And i am still making the case to move David Adams to SS at Trenton, and let him work there from now on. He could be good, and 2B is taken, but SS may open up in a couple years.

  47. Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Led the team, not the lead. If Gardner got 160 extra PA, he would have got on base an extra 58 times.

  48. blake January 12th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Jerkface,

    Its still one season though……totally agree they need to get Cano more ABs.

  49. austinmac January 12th, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Will Jeter bounce back? Who really knows, but many have had down years in their mid-late 30s and have bounced back. I suspect Jeter is quite sick of hearing he is washed up and will work hard to prove the naysayers wrong. He did it in 2009 with his fielding.

  50. blake January 12th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    You’re taking numbers from Jeter’s worst season and what could be Gardner’s best though ……hope not but it could be, we just don’t know yet.

  51. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you Doreen. I didn’t think anyone got it.

  52. ac1 January 12th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Trevor Hoffman thinks 300 saves is equal to 3000 hits?
    I don’t think so man….

  53. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Gardner Cano order reminds me of Henderson Mattingly. I’d be all for getting these 2 the most ABs in line-up.

    I also think Gardner will eventually show he can hit lefties. Long called him one of the smartest hitters he has met. Kid works hard and just has to learn how to better hit junk ballers.

  54. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Trevor obviously needs to read this afternoon’s blog to become enlightened.

  55. Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    You’re taking numbers from Jeter’s worst season and what could be Gardner’s best though ……hope not but it could be, we just don’t know yet.

    Gardner in all of his callups show-cased the skills he is using to succeed. And he has an extensive minor league track record to fall back on. At some point a person needs to evaluate this and go “For the best results we will do this.” If you keep waiting for Gardner to fall off a cliff you’ll just end up batting him 9th for 5 years. I think winners look at what they have and just go with it, rather than waiting for it to be forced upon them.

    They challenged Cano to hit 5th and it worked out pretty well.

    Look at these numbers for Gardner’s career:

    .425 .521 .450 .971 - first batter of a game
    .291 .392 .391 .783 – leading off an inning

    Batting 9th: .238 .331 .311 .642

    He really excels in other batting spots. 1st, 6th, 7th, and 8th.

  56. Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    BoJo -

    You’re welcome, but now I can’t get the jingle out of my head! :lol:

  57. Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Long called him one of the smartest hitters he has met

    Of course he is one of the smartest hitters, have you seen the man’s skull? He looks like the smartest guy a live. Dude is a light bulb with arms and legs.

  58. Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    The only problem with Gardner is his slide into second base. Can we count on at least one wrist issue a season?

  59. blake January 12th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    One way or another I think they need to get Cano that first inning AB. He needs to be in a spot where he can drive in the 1 and 2 hitters and so that he can be driven in by Alex and Teixera after he doubles off the wall.

  60. Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    The only problem with Gardner is his slide into second base. Can we count on at least one wrist issue a season?

    Everyone slides head first unfortunately, especially base stealers. I hope he continues to wear that hand brace.

  61. blake January 12th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Jerkface,

    Im not trying to degrade Gardner …..I just think they need to see how he does in his 2nd year as a starter before they put the pressure on him of leading off for the Yankees. What’s the sample size on his lead off stats?

  62. Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Jerkface,

    I hope the handbrace helps. But he’s had an issue the last two seasons. Is there something else he might do better?

    I’m not criticizing Gardner; I like him. Just fearful that there’s a DL stint in the cards for him with that slide.

  63. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Long called him one of the smartest hitters he has met

    Of course he is one of the smartest hitters, have you seen the man’s skull? He looks like the smartest guy a live. Dude is a light bulb with arms and legs.
    ++++++++++++
    Shall we start calling him “The Brain?”

  64. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    BoJo -

    You’re welcome, but now I can’t get the jingle out of my head!
    +++++++++++
    They had a jingle?! I can’t recall it! Drat!

  65. Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I’m not criticizing Gardner; I like him. Just fearful that there’s a DL stint in the cards for him with that slide.

    Its going to be an ever present occupational hazard.

  66. Jerkface January 12th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    What’s the sample size on his lead off stats?

    48 games leading off,
    175 games and 268 PA for leading off an inning.

  67. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 5:20 pm
  68. BoJo January 12th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Just found the jingle

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNq0Umgvkas

  69. austinmac January 12th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    BoJo,

    You seemed a little shy in your 5:20 post. Speak up. :)

  70. Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    BoJo -

    That’s funny – I was just waiting for it to come up on my computer! (Which has been very slow of late. I think it needs a tuneup.)

  71. YankeesNmore January 12th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Hey, it’s Ivan Nova’s Birthday today – per Curtis Granderson on Facebook.

    Happy Birthday, Ivan Nova!!
    ———————————///—————-
    Howard Stern’s, too! Happy 57th Howard!

  72. Tom in N.J. January 12th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Yesterday was Alexander Hamilton’s birthday.

    And mine…

  73. YankeesNmore January 12th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    “So in your world, Cano was done after his .270 average in 2008 or whatever year that was?”
    —————————————————
    Ya… That’s what I said. Anybody who hits .270 one year is done.

    Get over yourself.

    There is a HUGE difference between 24 and 36, and show me the day Cano stopped being able to crush a fastball.

    If pitchers attacked Robbie last year the way they did Jeter, there’s no telling what the numbers would have been.

  74. Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Can’t stand Howard Stern.

  75. DocTodd January 12th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    The first to conquer living space, it’s Castro convertible….okay everybody, sing along…..

  76. Pat M. January 12th, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    YankeesNmore…….You want to make a little wager on Derek Jeter’s 2011 season ????

  77. SAS January 12th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Good afternoon all,

    Hope you aren’t too snowbound.

    ————————————————

    Doreen,

    Now I can’t get the jingle out of my head. Thanks bunches….lol. I have had Christmas carols in my head for weeks now.

  78. Rich in NJ January 12th, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    “You want to make a little wager on Derek Jeter’s 2011 season ????”

    Pat M.

    2011: .293/.360/.390
    2012: .280/.340/.350

  79. upstate kate January 12th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    BoJo
    thanks for that blast from the past.
    The ones I remember best are the Reingold and the Ballantine beer jingles. And then there was Wednesday, Prince spaghetti day, its a Righetti spaghetti!

    Tom
    Happy Birthday :)

  80. austinmac January 12th, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    With a mother named Mabel, the Mabel Black Label jingle has unfortunately always stuck with me.

  81. Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Sorry SAS -

    But at this point anything is better than Christmas music, isn’t it????

    LOL

  82. Doreen January 12th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    austinmac -

    My mother is named “Josephine” so Josephine the plumber always stuck with me (but not the product unfortunately).

    :)

  83. YsGuy January 12th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    ‘who conquers space with fine design? who saves you money all the time? for tops in the convertable line…castro convertables….’

  84. SAS January 12th, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    When I was a kid, there was a Miss Reingold every year. They were beautiful girls and I think people voted for her. I wanted to be Miss Reingold so bad.

    ————————————————–
    Another outfielder comes off the board :arrow:

  85. Rich in NJ January 12th, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    “My mother is named “Josephine” so Josephine the plumber always stuck with me (but not the product unfortunately).”

    If they make that commercial 20 years from, it would be Ashely the Plumber.

    NTTAWWT

  86. YsGuy January 12th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    its the 10 minute head…dont think rhinegold beer would try running that line anymore…

  87. mick January 12th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    # YankeesNmore January 12th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    The bad news is, Captain Clutch has transformed into Captain Crap at the age of 36.

    The good news is, his contract expired at EXACTLY the right time–the end of last season–so we’re not stuck paying a SS who has no range and no bat a lot of money.

    The worst news is, Brian Cashman is still the GM and we just re-locked ourselves into three more years of Derek Jeter, and for a total of $56 million.

    Past time for a change.
    =========================
    When did you start hating Jeter?
    Curious if it was before last year?

  88. YankeesNmore January 12th, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I don’t hate Derek Jeter, but I did get sick of watching him consistently crap all over our season last year.

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