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

Off day minor league notes: Risks behind the plate

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on May 26, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

I didn’t see or hear about last night’s Buster Posey injury until I was several thousand feet above the fly-over states of middle America. After sleeping for a little while and reading for a little while, I turned on the little satellite TV screen in front of me to catch up on the news of the day. Then I flipped briefly to SportsCenter.

Posey is probably out for the year with a broken bone and possibly some ligament damage. It’s a bad situation, and an unfortunate situation, but we can’t pretend it’s a new situation. The Posey injury doesn’t necessarily change anything for Jesus Montero or the other elite catching prospects in the Yankees organization.

It’s not as if the Yankees turned on a television at the same time I did and suddenly realized that being a catcher is dangerous.

If injury concerns lead the Yankees to eventually move Montero or Austin Romine or Gary Sanchez to a different position, it would be perfectly justifiable, but it would not be a move to be taken lightly and with a sigh of relief. Part of what makes these catching prospects so valuable is their ability to play behind the plate, lending a premium bat to a position that often has minimal offensive impact.

Risk comes with the position, but so does reward. That was true before and after Posey was rocked at home plate last night.

• Speaking of catching prospects, Gary Sanchez is playing in extended spring training after opening the year in Low-A Charleston. Mark Newman told Josh Norris that Sanchez is down there because of a back injury. He seemed to be getting things turned around before landing on the Charleston disabled list. Sanchez was hitting .314/.455/.657 in his last 10 games before going on the DL.

• Speaking of behind the plate in Charleston, J.R. Murphy’s breakout season continues with the Low-A affiliate. He’s played some third base and designated hitter, but Murphy continues to get most of his time behind the plate and he just keeps hitting. He’s up to .318/.358/.497, a huge leap from last season.

• While we’re behind the plate: Jesus Montero is hitting .260/.337/.377 this month. I know a lot of the fan base is anxious to get this kid into the big league lineup — and I understand why — but player development is a very real thing, and Montero’s still just 21 years old. Consistency might be the next — and final — part of his development.

• Jorge Vazquez is still hitting home runs at a stunning rate, but the thing that catches my attention is that he has seven walks in his past 10 games (he had four in all of April). Either he’s becoming a little more selective, or teams are completely pitching around him. By the way, his home run total is up to 17. That’s insane, especially in a pitchers’ league.

• Vazquez’s teammate, Justin Maxwell, is second in the International League with 13 home runs.

• Speaking of Triple-A hitters, a few guys who struggled early have started to hit in the past month: Brandon Laird (.293/.341/.373 in May), Kevin Russo (.288/.367/.404 in May), Ramiro Pena (.310/.356/.310 in May).

• D.J. Mitchell, Adam Warren and David Phelps are still pitching well out of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rotation — well enough that they’d have to be involved in any call-up conversation — but if the Yankees want a new long man, they might also need to look at George Kontos. Lost in the Rule 5 draft this winter — just like Lance Pendleton — Kontos has a 2.22 ERA and a .209 opponents batting average this season, and he’s been better this month than last month. If the Yankees are looking for a one-inning option, Kevin Whelan keeps getting it done in that Triple-A closer’s role.

• Veteran left-hander Randy Flores has yet to allow a hit in four appearances since joining the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bullpen.

• Two Double-A starters you might have heard about: Dellin Betances has a 1.30 ERA with 39 strikeouts through seven starts, and Manny Banuelos has a 1.96 ERA with 34 strikeouts through eight starts. Both have had some walk issues from time to time, but my gut reaction is to blame their youth. On the whole, their numbers are awfully impressive.

• No overwhelming home runs numbers or anything like that, but the Yankees regular Class-A third basemen in are both playing pretty well. In High-A Tampa, Rob Lyerly is hitting .326/.368/.481, and in Low-A Charleston, Rob Segedin is hitting .288/.384/.445. Each has three homers, and between them they have 21 doubles and six triples.

• Talked to Alan Horne earlier today. He’s pitched in extended spring training twice in the past week and he’s pretty encouraged. His fastball’s been good, but he’s still looking to build some arm strength.

• Surprise numbers of the month: Utility man Kelvin Castro who’s hitting .462 with five triples and more walks than strikeouts in 12 games since joining the Tampa infield. Last season he hit .224 with five triples all year. He also struck out more than three times as often as he walked.

• A blast from the recent past: Zach McAllister is starting for Triple-A Columbus tonight, attempting to become the minor league’s first eight-game winner. Traded away in last year’s Austin Kearns deal, McAllister is thriving in his second attempt at Triple-A. He has a 2.48 ERA and seems to be getting better as the season progresses. He had a 5.09 ERA with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before last year’s trade.

Associated Press photo of Posey, headshots of Sanchez, Murphy, Kontos and Whelan





51 Responses to “Off day minor league notes: Risks behind the plate”

  1. MTU May 26th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Great post Chad. Chock full of info.

    Thanks for filling the void.

  2. Jerkface May 26th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Z-Mac was one of the rumored pieces in the Haren deal.

  3. BIG AL May 26th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    MTU -

    Good evening sir.

  4. Erin May 26th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    PhilHughes65 Feels good to be out west! Lazy day

    Joba_62 Headed to Hangover 2. So excited!!!

    Hey-Joba and I did the same thing today. :)

  5. MTU May 26th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    How are you Al ?

  6. Erin May 26th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    RiverAveBlues Back-to-back evenings with no game and we have to wait until 10 p.m. tomorrow night. I don’t know what to do with all of this free time.

  7. BIG AL May 26th, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    MTU -

    Doing a little better. Had a rough day at the dentist this morning, but other than that OK.

    Last night you spoke about wanting a MAC over a PC, and not liking WIN 7. If you have WIN 7 Ultimate, and use Explorer 9, you will see the difference quite easily over XP, hands down. I bought a 24″ MAC, had it 4 weeks, and returned it, do not care for the MAC, but that’s JMHO.

  8. MTU May 26th, 2011 at 7:16 pm


    Thanks for the advice. Might try that sometime. Have the standard

    Probably should do a reload. That might help. Lot of work though.

    Feel better.

  9. BIG AL May 26th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    MTU -

    The full upgrade takes about 3-4 hours, but its worth it. I have the upgrade software if you’d care to borrow it at anytime.

  10. Nick in SF May 26th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I hope Joba was talking about the movie. :neutral:

  11. Jerkface May 26th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I hope Joba was talking about the movie.

    He thought it was a documentary of his life.

  12. MTU May 26th, 2011 at 7:21 pm


    Thank you. Very kind of you. I’ll keep that in mind.

  13. Erin May 26th, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Nick in SF May 26th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I hope Joba was talking about the movie.



  14. BIG AL May 26th, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    MTU -

    How far from you’re home were the last 2 hikes? The reservoir shots, with the water falling over the red rocks were great pictures.

  15. BIG AL May 26th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    MTU -

    I loved The Needles, but not on my best day would I consider climbing those rocks, I’d stick to taking the pictures.

  16. MTU May 26th, 2011 at 7:26 pm



    The last one was within 1/2 hour.

    The one before @ canyonlands NP = about 400 miles.

  17. MTU May 26th, 2011 at 7:29 pm


    They climb those spires most weekends I’m told.

    Took some serious nerve.

    Lucky to be there at the right time to get the shots.

  18. BIG AL May 26th, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    MTU -

    The Mrs. wanted to know if you drove into the area, or was most of it walk in?

  19. BIG AL May 26th, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    MTU -

    Are you permitted to use ATV’s in the NP system?

  20. MTU May 26th, 2011 at 7:31 pm


    The reservoir can be either.

    Parts of the other can be done by car. Examples: Newspaper Rock, and the Needles overlook.

  21. Germfree Adolescents May 26th, 2011 at 7:32 pm


    Posey plays in a game before Soriano does

  22. MTU May 26th, 2011 at 7:32 pm


    Depends where. Not at Canyonlands. Even if they are are street legal.

  23. BIG AL May 26th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    MTU -

    What do you think the Giants will do, now that Posey is out for the season?

    I wonder if they contact Molina and bring him out of retirement, or go on the market.

    They have an excess of good young pitching don’t they, and we have catchers.

  24. Yankeeclipper May 26th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I wonder if Yanks-Giants could work out a deal whereby Yanks send Cisco to Giants for either OF or a LH reliever. I like Cisco but that would either open up chance for Montero or Romaine to get back up catcher slot. If Montero is promoted, he can catch 1-2 times a week and DH some.

  25. LGY May 26th, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    • While we’re behind the plate: Jesus Montero is hitting .260/.337/.377 this month


    The only logical conclusion to draw from this is that getting hit in the nads sapped his power.

  26. LGY May 26th, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Now that we have identified the problem, we need to find a solution. I’ll throw a few out there.

    1. Stem cell therapy
    2. Major league groupies
    3. The magic touch of Gene Monahan

  27. BIG AL May 26th, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    LGY -

    It will take your breath away for sure.

  28. MTU May 26th, 2011 at 7:40 pm


    Some of that was discuused this AM.

    We might be a match with Frisco.

    I was reading that Molina does not want to get in shape at the Minor league level.

    SF has a backup guy who they are promoting to primary.

    Don’t know much about him. Think his name is Whiteside, or something to that effect.

    We talked about about Sanchez and Bumgardner.

    Romine + might get their attention.

    Sanchez walks too many. Bumgardner is not having a good start.

    My choice of those 2 would be Bumgardner.

    I like Danks even though he is off to a bad start.

  29. West Coast Yankee Fan May 26th, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    I don’t think the Yankees believe Montero is ready – or feel there is any urgency to bring him up.

  30. BIG AL May 26th, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    MTU -

    Mike, got to go, I’ll catch you tomorrow, be well.

  31. BoJo May 26th, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Cervelli for Sergio Romo?

  32. BIG AL May 26th, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    MTU -

    I was not around this morning, and lately tend not to go back and read through all the trash, looking for some good posts.

    Talk later, thanks for the update, much appreciated.

  33. Jerkface May 26th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Cervelli for Sergio Romo?

    Russel Martin for Buster Posey!

  34. Chad Jennings May 26th, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Donnie Collins just texted me… Apparently Andy Sisco has been released. He must have requested it. With Randy Flores pitching well, Sisco’s role was pretty much non-existent.

  35. Jackson May 26th, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Andy Sisco released.

    swbyankeesTT SWB Yankees Blog
    I don’t know why Andy Sisco was released. But I couldn’t get a straight answer on why he was DLed. He said he had a “boo-boo.”

  36. BoJo May 26th, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Russel Martin for Buster Posey!
    Wow! That’s an aggressive idea…if Posey was anywhere near the glove that Martin is, I’d say go for it.

  37. Jerkface May 26th, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Posey throws out 37% of runners.

  38. tyanksfan36 May 26th, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I watched last nights Marlins/Giants game but missed the collision. I was feeling bad for Buster because he didn’t successfully throw anyone out last night. Sadly that was the least of his worries for the night.

  39. randy l. May 26th, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    i just watched the buster posey collision several times and i can’t blame the runner. posey turned aggressively back towards the runner thinking he might have the ball which he didn’t.

    i will say that a catcher with the present rules has to pick his spots when he’s going to block a runner. if the catcher can’t HIT the runner really hard, it’s better to ole the tag. posey had no leverage. he really should have instinctively felt this and backed off.

    posada used to get a lot of grief for doing this , but he played 11 years before he went on the disabled list for the first time. this is an amazing achievement for posada that is undervalued by fans. posey being disabled so early in his career shows how amazing posada was for durability.

    this durability and ability to take a hit is one more reason that posada should be in the hall of fame.

  40. Yankeeclipper May 26th, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Cervelli and Swisher for Shierholtz and Runzler?

  41. Joe from Long Island May 26th, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    randy – it was a clean, albeit hard, hit by the runner. Reminded me of the Pete Rose – Ray Fosse collision in that All Star Game in the 60s.

    I think Posada learned how to smartly cover the plate a long time ago. Hence, the avoidance of injuries. Though, he did get clocked pretty hard by Tex in that one Yanks-Rangers game a few years back. The one where he hit the walk off HR. I think Tex, when he came to the Yanks, gave Posada a framed copy of the back page of the Daily News with that collision pictured. Posada thanked him, sort of.

  42. NYY fan in NH May 26th, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    It’s too bad the Yanks couldn’t engage talks witht he Giants. Especially a need at catcher for up to a year possibly. What could they entice them to get Matt Cain. Pipe dream I know, but this might be a good time to find out.

  43. Madrugador May 26th, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    The Yanks are swamped with starting pitching at the minor league level with some of it being near ready for prime time. Who goes in that July trade for a big league starter?

  44. Nick in SF May 26th, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    “…if Posey was anywhere near the glove that Martin is…”

    :shock: :?: :?: :?: :shock:

  45. Wave Your Hat May 26th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    The rules need to change. Why can you cream the catcher but not the second baseman?

  46. ericns1 May 26th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks for all the farm info Chad

  47. randy l. May 26th, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    wave your hat.

    i’d have no problem with the rules changing to make it a safer game without taking anything away from the quality of the game, but until they do a catcher has to feel when he is the one with the leverage. if he doesn’t have it back off. you can feel it when you are back there. hitting a runner is no different than how a linebacker hits a running back. it’s either hit harder or get run over.

    a catcher can also let himself be bowled over with no resistance if he has little leverage. all you have to do then is hold on to the ball while you are doing a back flip. been there, done that.

    personally a swipe tag is preferable to landing on your head :)

  48. randy l. May 26th, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    “I think Posada learned how to smartly cover the plate a long time ago. Hence, the avoidance of injuries.”

    joe -

    a good hitting catcher is too valuable to the team , so he doesn’t have the luxury of being macho.

    posada was smart backing off the way he did most of his career. it was the right thing to do for the team.

  49. BoJo May 26th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Nick in SF May 26th, 2011 at 8:59 pm
    “…if Posey was anywhere near the glove that Martin is…”
    I don’t follow NL baseball much, but what I had heard was that Posey was still a work in progress defensively and that he has to learn more about managing a pitching staff. This was info from last year around play-off time.

    If he calls a great game, and is a good defensive catcher…trading Martin for him would be a gutsy move.

  50. MaineYankee May 26th, 2011 at 9:35 pm


    personally a swipe tag is preferable to landing on your head


    Based on some of your post I’d say you didn’t do the swipe tag enough. :lol:

  51. 4 NYY May 26th, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Why do we always have to wait till the deadline to trade ? Asking price will be more and the Yanks always get asked for more than anyone else ! They know pretty much now, what is needed, barring injuries between now and then.

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