The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Baseball America announces Top 10 Yankees prospects11.05.10

Baseball America was scheduled to release its Yankees Top 10 prospects today, but the schedule changed and the list will now hit the website next week. Given the Daily News report about Jesus Montero, though, today actually seems to be the perfect day for the Yankees Top 10.

The good news is, the list is already out in print editions and it’s hitting the web. I first saw it on the Trenton blog run by Josh Norris. I’ll be sure to link to Baseball America when their scouting reports go live. For now, here are the names that make up the Yankees Top 10, beginning with the guy who might be starting at catcher next season.

ph_5249681. Jesus Montero
2. Gary Sanchez
3. Dellin Betances
4. Manny Banuelos
5. Andrew Brackman
6. Austin Romine
7. Hector Noesi
8. Eduardo Nunez
9. Slade Heathcott
10. Brandon Laird

ph_476454Montero is the clear No. 1. His bat is one of the best in minor league baseball, and it should play at the Major League level regardless of his glove.

Nos. 2 through 6 are probably easy choices, though the order might change depending on the person doing the ranking. I probably would have ranked Banuelos second, but that’s extreme nitpicking.

In an organization so rich in upper-level pitching, I agree with Donnie Collins that it’s interesting — though not right or wrong — that Noesi got a Top 10 spot ahead of guys like David Phelps or Adam Warren or even Graham Stoneburner. Again, not saying I disagree, I just find it interesting that Baseball America values him at the top of that second tier of organizational pitching prospects.

Nunez proved 2009 wasn’t a fluke, and that moved him into the Top 10. Heathcott’s performance was shaky this season, but his talent kept him in the Top 10. Rounding out the list is Laird, who didn’t even crack Baseball America’s Top 30 last season. Says a lot about how far he’s climbed in the eyes of scouts and front-office types. When a player keeps hitting in the upper levels, the rest of baseball pays attention.

Those are headshots of Montero and Betances

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 77 Comments →

Laird and Mesa named Player of the Year11.02.10

Pretty convenient timing. On the day Melky Mesa was added to the Yankees 40-man roster, he was also named the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year for the Florida State League. Brandon Laird was also chosen as a Player of the Year, with his award coming in the Eastern League. Here’s the announcement from MILB.

ph_444859ph_477186The Washington Nationals and New York Yankees each had a pair of their prospects, who also were named their league’s most valuable player, selected as a Topps Player of the Year winner. Fourteen Major League organizations are represented in the annual George M. Trautman Awards, presented in the 16 domestic Minor Leagues by the Topps Company of New York, in conjunction with Minor League Baseball.

Potomac Nationals first baseman Tyler Moore led the Carolina League in home runs, RBIs, doubles, slugging percentage, extra base hits and total bases in being named the Topps Player of the Year in the Class A loop. Randolph Oduber is the other Washington Minor Leaguer to claim a Topps award. Oduber finished in the top five in eight offensive categories in the Gulf Coast League, including leading it in batting average and slugging percentage.

Trenton third baseman Brandon Laird won the Eastern League’s MVP and Rookie of the Year awards. He finished in the top five in the league in homers and RBIs, despite being promoted to Triple-A in early August. The second Yankees honoree is Tampa outfielder Melky Mesa, who was among the Florida State League leaders in home runs, doubles, triples, RBIs, slugging percentage and extra base hits.

Topps salutes the top performances throughout Minor League Baseball, including monthly awards and all-star teams in each classification.

League

Winner

Club/Org.

POS.

International

Dan Johnson

Durham/Tampa Bay

1B

Pacific Coast

J.P. Arencibia

Las Vegas/Toronto

C

Eastern

Brandon Laird

Trenton/New York-AL

3B

Southern

Dave Sappelt

Carolina/Cincinnati

OF

Texas

Mike Moustakas

NW Arkansas/Kansas City

3B

California

Paul Goldschmidt

Visalia/Arizona

1B

Carolina

Tyler Moore

Potomac/Washington

1B

Florida State

Melky Mesa

Tampa/New York-AL

OF

Midwest

Mike Trout

Cedar Rapids/Los Angeles-AL

OF

S. Atlantic

J.D Martinez

Lexington/Houston

OF

NY-Penn

Cory Vaughn

Brooklyn/New York-NL

OF

Northwest

Jared Hoying

Spokane/Texas

OF

Appalachian

Oswaldo Arcia

Elizabethton/Minnesota

OF

Pioneer

Jake Lemmerman

Ogden/Los Angeles-NL

SS

Arizona

Ji-Man Choi

Mariners/Seattle

C

Gulf Coast

Randolph Oduber

Nationals/Washington

OF

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 115 Comments →

Rule 5 decisions looming for Yankees11.02.10

Last winter, the Yankees added seven minor leaguers to the 40-man roster. If I had to guess, I’d say it will be closer to four or five this winter.

Of the players eligible for the Rule 5 draft, only Dellin Betances and Brandon Laird jump out as guys who absolutely need to be protected. Beyond that, each addition is likely to depend on how many roster spots come open and how highly the Yankees think of some of their lower-level players.

This post is not an attempt to list every Yankees minor leaguer who’s eligible for the Rule 5 draft. These are simply some of the names who jumped out to me as leading candidates at various positions. My friend Donnie Collins has a more comprehensive list.

ph_476454Pitchers: Wilkins Arias, Dellin Betances, Jairo Heredia, Craig Heyer, Alan Horne, George Kontos, Adam Olbrychowski, Jonathan Ortiz, Lance Pendleton, Ryan Pope, Pat Venditte, Kevin Whelan, Eric Wordekemper

Betances (right) is the no-brainer of the group. He’s a huge talent who seems to be finally healthy, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could pitch his way to New York as early as next season.

Heredia is also a pretty big talent, but injuries have held him to only 39 innings above Low-A. The Yankees took a chance on getting the young and raw Ivan Nova through the Rule 5 in 2008, and that worked out. They took no such chances with Hector Noesi last year. The Yankees have to make a similar decision on Heredia this year.

Beyond Betances, the names that standout most are Arias, Pendleton and Pope. Arias is the only lefty on the list, Pendleton is coming off a nice year in Double-A (he finished in Triple-A) and Pope was invited to big league camp this spring then got an Arizona Fall League assignment this offseason. Heyer is also in the Fall League. Those Fall League assignments suggest the Yankees like the potential of Heyer and Pope, but one year ago Zach Kroenke, Grant Duff and Colin Curtis were all sent to the Fall League, but each was still left exposed to the Rule 5.

Horne and Kontos would be much more prominent in this discussion if not for injuries. Kontos is pitching again, but after a solid regular season, he’s struggling in Arizona.

ph_477186Infielders: Brandon Laird, Jose Pirela, Brad Suttle

Laird (right) was terrific this season. He can already play the infield corners, now he’s in the Fall League learning to handle the outfield. He seems like a lock.

Pirela is the biggest name of a few small-name middle infielders who are eligible. He’s never played above Class A, and the Yankees already have quite a few middle infielders on the roster. Suttle is an interesting case: A fourth-round pick who showed an impressive bat in college but missed all of 2009 with a shoulder injury. He started to hit in the second-half of this season, but I’m not sure he could actually stick on a Major League roster at this point.

ph_444859Outfielders: Abraham Almonte, Zoilo Almonte, Austin Krum, Melky Mesa, Damon Sublett

The top candidate here is Mesa (right). He can hit for power, he can run and he can throw. He also struck out 129 times in 121 games this season. And that was an improvement on last year’s 168 strikeouts. Strikeouts aside, Mesa can play center field and he brings a ton of tools. Beyond Laird, I’d say Mesa is the top position player worth a spot.

Of the other outfielders: Neither of the Almonte’s has played above Class-A, while Krum and Sublett hit below .230 in Double-A this season. Sublett and Abraham Almonte are converted infielders.

ph_468474Catchers: Jose Gil

No big names are eligible at catcher. Right or wrong, Gil (right) has been treated more like an organizational catcher than as a prospect. P.J. Pilittere will become a free agent this winter, but he’s not someone the Yankees are likely to consider adding to the roster, and he’s much better off finding a new organization.

Jesus Montero and Austin Romine are a year away from Rule 5 eligibility.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 339 Comments →

Brandon Laird: In the outfield and on the radar10.30.10

ph_477186Brandon Laird might have been the breakout star of the Yankees minor league system this year. As a 27th-round pick, he’s never been considered a sure thing, but he’s consistently hit and hit for power. Between Double-A and Triple-A, Laird hit .281 with 25 homers and 102 RBI this season, then the Yankees sent him for more at-bats in the Arizona Fall League.

Why? Because they want him to learn the outfield corners.

During my time covering the Yankees minor league system, officials consistently made reference to the idea of a corner utility man. Someone who can fill in at first, third, left and right. It’s pretty much what the Yankees had in Eric Hinske late last season. It’s not especially easy to find, but it’s kind of an ideal bench player.

In theory, it would be a bigger bat than whoever might fill in at second base, shortstop or center field. Those bench spots are generally expected to provide defense and speed (Ramiro Pena this year, Brett Gardner last year). That corner bench player would bring offense, first and foremost.

That’s why Laird is on my radar, and that’s why it caught my eye that he was playing the outfield in the Fall League. Laird is a natural third baseman with experience at first, but giving him outfield reps makes him an attractive Major League option sooner rather than later. Kevin Russo got some Fall League starts in the outfield two years ago, and look at where he got most of his big league time this season.

Laird needs to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this winter, so he’s practically a lock for a spot on the 40-man. He could easily play a role in New York before the end of next season, especially if he keeps hitting and gets comfortable in the outfield.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 13 Comments →

Looking ahead to September08.26.10

Rays Yankees Baseball

Major league rosters expand in six days. In theory, the Yankees could call-up every player on the 40-man, but that would leave a bunch of guys sitting around with nothing to do. It generally makes more sense to let most of the guys stay sharp in the International League and Eastern League playoffs — Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton are both in line to advance — then make a few more moves when those postseason runs are over.

That’s the way the Yankees have handled it in the past.

In 2007, the Yankees added four players on the 1st and a whopping 10 more later in the month. In 2008, two guys were added on the 1st, and the Yankees gradually added eight more. Last year, six call-ups on the 1st, seven more in the next two and a half weeks.

Considering the number of guys who are fairly close to coming off the disabled list, I’ll be surprised to see more than two or three true minor league call-ups on Wednesday. These are some of the guys to consider, some for an immediate call-up, most for an eventual promotion.

ph_121347Major league disabled list
Lance Berkman, Alex Rodriguez, Alfredo Aceves, Damaso Marte, Andy Pettitte
Berkman is eligible to come off the DL on August 31st, but it makes more sense to wait a day. Rodriguez shouldn’t be far behind, and Aceves seems healthy enough to pitch as soon as the Yankees believe he’s physically ready to face big league hitters.

Pettitte and Marte will take just a little bit longer. If you’re curious, major leaguers are allowed to rehab during the minor league playoffs. The year Francisco Liriano nearly won the Rookie of the Year award in Minnesota, he came down to pitch three hitless innings the decisive game in the first round of the IL playoffs. I was covering the Phillies Triple-A team at the time. They never had a shot against him.

ph_524968Catchers
Chad Moeller, Jesus Montero
It’s standard protocol to add a third catcher on September 1. The Yankees didn’t do it in 2007, but given Jorge Posada’a nagging injuries and Francisco Cervelli’s lagging offense, a third catcher would make sense. Question is, do they go with the veteran Moeller — a guy to catch after Cervelli is lifted for a late-inning pinch hitter — or do they go with the stud prospect Montero.

Two months ago, I would have said Moeller was the obvious choice, but Montero seems to have figured out Triple-A. He’s hitting .361 with nine home runs since the all-star break. I can’t speak to his abilities behind the plate — I’ve only seen him catch in spring training — but the decision might hinge on whether the Yankees trust him back there in a major league game in the middle of a pennant race. 

ph_501835Non-catcher position players
Juan Miranda, Kevin Russo, Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, Chad Huffman, Brandon Laird, Jorge Vazquez
The Yankees have two utility infielders and four legitimate outfielders. They don’t necessarily need one position or another, so additional position players would be all about depth and maybe adding a lefty-or-righty pinch hitter.

Miranda might be able to play an immediate role. On days when Berkman is in the lineup, the Yankees only left-handed pinch hitter is Ramiro Pena. It would be a small role to play, but Miranda doesn’t exactly have a lot to gain from a few more Triple-A at-bats. Curtis could also give them an extra left-handed bat, while adding some outfield depth and a pinch runner. Adding Vazquez or Laird would require a 40-man move, so those don’t seem likely, despite pretty good numbers.

ph_452293Pitchers
Jonathan Albaladejo, Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi, Romulo Sanchez, Royce Ring
The best bet of this bunch is Albaladejo, who has absolutely earned a call-up. Sanchez doesn’t have the same season numbers, but he’s also been dominant since moving into the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bullpen.  Brackman and Noesi are both on the 40-man and both have pitched well, but Brackman is still in Double-A and Noesi was just called up to Triple-A. They might be worth considering after the minor league playoffs, but probably not before.

Jason Hirsh and some younger non-40-man guys — David Phelps especially — have pitched well enough to be in the conversation, but I’m not sure there’s a spot for another long man, especially not with Aceves on his way back and the Yankees already carrying 13 pitchers. The only guy on this list not on the 40-man is Ring, who’s been terrific against left-handers and might make sense if Marte suffers another setback and moves to the 60-day.

My guess
Joe Girardi said yesterday that the Yankees have not started talking about who to bring up, so any sort of prediction is wild guesswork.

I’ll say that on September 1, four players will be added: Berkman, Miranda, Albaladejo and a catcher (I’ve gone back and forth in my head a hundred times about which one it will be). Soon after, Rodriguez and Aceves will come off the disabled list, then Marte and Pettitte. After the minor league playoffs, I’ll guess Russo, Curtis and Sanchez get the call.

Based past performance trying to guess September call-ups, I’ve probably guessed too many players for September 1 and not enough by the end of the month.

That’s an Associated Press photo of Miranda at the top. The headshots are Rodriguez, Miranda, Russo and Albaladejo.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 119 Comments →

The back-up plan08.18.10

The MRI machine didn’t bring much good news for the Yankees on Tuesday.

Although Alex Rodriguez said it could have been worse, his test revealed a mild strain of his left calf. He wasn’t able to play last night, and as Brian reported last night, he’s expected to miss at least a few more games.

Although Andy Pettitte seemed to be working toward a rehab start, his MRI showed a strain of his left groin that will keep him out until September.

So the Yankees will have to continue with their back-up plans for a little longer. These are the alternatives.

ph_455369Third base
Right now it’s Ramiro Pena’s job. He doesn’t hit much, but his glove is outstanding and he’s actually had a knack for producing when given the opportunity. The Yankees have been willing to stick with him all season, and I’m not sure there’s reason to believe they would change course because of an injury that’s only supposed to cost Rodriguez a few days. But there are some options.

Brandon Laird: One of the season’s breakout prospects, Laird jumped to Triple-A at the beginning of August. He was in big league camp this spring, and he needs to be added to the 40-man this winter to be protected him from the Rule 5.
Kevin Russo: Already on the 40-man. Left a good reputation in New York. Hitting .284 this month in Triple-A.
Eduardo Nunez: On the 40-man without good Triple-A numbers all year. He’s primarily a shortstop, but the Yankees have given him starts at third base to increase his versatility.
Jorge Vazquez: Has 13 home runs in 57 Triple-A games. He’s also walked just seven times and hasn’t played third base since July 5.
Greg Dobbs: Or any other major league third baseman who’s been designated for assignment. That includes guys like Craig Counsell, Edwin Encarnacion and Geoff Blum. Brian Cashman said he doesn’t expect to make a move – and in this case I believe him — but there are some options out there.

ph_400291Rotation
For now it’s Dustin Moseley’s spot, and he’s pitched pretty well despite that bad inning in Kansas City. He’s 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA as a spot starter. Last time he pitched at Yankee Stadium he beat the Red Sox and got a standing ovation. But the Yankees have plenty of alternatives who could get a shot between now and Pettitte’s return.

Ivan Nova: Having  a terrific season as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s ace, Nova is 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA. He went 5-0 in July and has a 2.41 ERA in his past 10 starts. He’s on the exact same schedule as Moseley, and last time out he allowed one hit through seven innings. Pitched well in limited big league duty earlier this season.
Alfredo Aceves: Joe Girardi previously said the Yankees only wanted to get Aceves stretched out to around 40 pitches, but he also said the return of Aceves could be based on need. With a couple more rehab starts, they could get him stretched out as a starter.
Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre: The two long relievers in the Yankees bullpen could be moved into the rotation if necessary. Seems more likely that the Yankees would stick with Moseley, but Gaudin and Mitre have pitched pretty well in their bullpen roles and both were trusted with starts late last season.
David Phelps: With Jason Hirsh on the disabled list, Phelps is probably the second-best Triple-A starter right now, but it’s hard to imagine any minor leaguer getting the call ahead of Nova.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 410 Comments →

Mitre rehabs, Laird takes fly balls, Weber suspended07.19.10

A few minor league notes…

mitreSergio Mitre wrapped up his rehab assignment with 4.2 innings tonight in Scranton. Mitre allowed four hits — all singles — while walking two and striking out four. He left with runners at the corners and Eric Wordekemper let them score on a three-run homer.

Donnie Collins reports that Mitre did not allow a ball to be hit in the air. Donnie is also reporting that both Romulo Sanchez and Jonathan Albaladejo — logically the best call-up candidates for tomorrow — are with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre tonight.

LairdIt’s worth noting that Double-A third baseman Brandon Laird started at first base on Saturday night. It was only his fourth game there this season, and his first since June 12. Laird has also started taking fly balls in the outfield before games.

As Mike Ashmore reported, manager Tony Franklin said not to make a “big deal” out of Laird’s time at other positions, but it’s hard not to notice that: 1. He’s blocked at first and third in New York, and 2. He’s been one of the breakout stars of the minor league system this year. It’s true that the Yankees, as a matter of course, often have players get at least a little work at other positions. But with a bat like Laird’s, it’s curious to see him working in in the outfield for the first time, especially considering it’s a spot where the Yankees system is pretty thin.

WeberSpring training’s feel-good story might have taken a turn. Major League Baseball announced three minor league suspensions today, beginning with this one.

Jonathan Weber, a retired player, has been suspended for 100 games following his third positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension of Weber will be effective immediately upon his return to Major League Baseball.

That’s the same Jon Weber who had such a huge spring training with the Yankees, an incredibly good guy who, at 32-years-old, had routinely played well at Triple-A without getting a taste of the majors. Weber was released out of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier this season, signed with Toledo, then suddenly retired on Thursday.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc, Noteswith 448 Comments →

Four more sent down03.22.10

This afternoon, the Yankees reassigned Eduardo Nunez, Reegie Corona, Jorge Vazquez and Brandon Laird to minor league camp.

That left Ramiro Pena, Kevin Russo and Juan Miranda as the only non-starting infielders left in big league camp, and left Pena and Russo as the only utility options.

“Pena has the most experience there and we want to see Ruse more, he’s played extremely well,” Girardi said. “You get to a point when you’ve got young players like Nunez, you want them to play every day, and to get one at-bat per game is not fair to them. They need to go get ready for their season. That’s why we did it today.”

This afternoon the Yankees also returned Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann.

“It’s a kid that we believe has tools,” Girardi said. “He went about his business the right way. His effort was tremendous. The numbers didn’t translate. Will he be a good player? I believe he can be, but right now we had to make a tough decision and the Dodgers wanted him back.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 88 Comments →

Chamberlain trying to get back on track03.17.10

Phil Hughes seemed to raise the bar with his four scoreless innings on Tuesday. This afternoon, Joba Chamberlain has to keep pace against the Phillies. It will be Chamberlain’s third outing of the spring, and it needs to be better than his first two.

“I told him, just pitch. Do what you have to do,” Joe Girardi said. “We’re not expecting you to work on things any more. We’re expecting you to compete. Show us what you’ve got.”

Despite the fact Chamberlain opened last season in the bullpen, Girardi said he never considered the fifth-starter role to be Chamberlain’s to lose. Girardi said he wouldn’t rule out sending Chamberlain to Triple-A, but it remains more likely Chamberlain will end up in the bullpen if he’s not in the big league rotation.

“I believe he really wants to start,” Girardi said. “For him, he knows this is the time you really have to show us something.”

Here’s Girardi’s morning media session.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Astros Yankees Baseball

• Clearly the most important thing that happened this morning was that Brett Gardner showed up with his hair cut short again. He said his hair was the longest it had been since 2001. That’s him with Posada in the AP photo.

• Girardi told all of the starters that they no longer have to work on things. They can simply pitch for results, but Phil Hughes still used his changeup in key spots last night. “It shows me that he has confidence in it,” Girardi said.

• The pitching plan is the same as yesterday except with different names: Andy Pettitte for four innings, then Damaso Marte for one, then Chamberlain for four. Royce Ring, Amaury Sanit and Ryan Pope are also available.

• Brandon Laird has a sore elbow, but it doesn’t sound serious. “He’s not going to play for a couple of days,” Girardi said.

• Jason Hirsh threw in the bullpen this morning.

• Scheduled to play off the bench: C Mike Rivera, 1B Juan Miranda, 2B Reegie Corona, SS Eduardo Nunez, 3B Jorge Vazquez, LF Jamie Hoffmann, CF Reid Gorecki, RF David Winfree, DH Jon Weber.

• Scheduled Phillies pitchers: RHP Joe Blanton, RHP Jose Contreras, LHP Sergio Escalona, RHP Chad Durbin, RHP David Herndon.

• Top Phillies prospect Domonic Brown was sent to minor league camp yesterday, so you won’t see him this afternoon.

• The Phillies elected not to use a designated hitter, but the Yankees will use one. Cody Ransom is starting at third for the Phillies.

• The Phillies lineup:

Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Jayson Werth RF
Ryan Howard 1B
Ben Francisco LF
Cody Ransom 3B
Juan Castro 2B
Carlos Ruiz C
Joe Blanton P

UPDATE, 11:22 a.m.: Yikes. Just saw my mistake in the Yankees lineup. Brett Gardner is leading off and playing center field. Sorry about that. I posted the lineup from my phone in the clubhouse, then drove to Clearwater and started working on this notes post before checking the comments of the previous post. I guess I’d gotten used to putting Jeter’s name at the top.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Podcastwith 134 Comments →

State of the Yankees: Third base02.11.10

The Yankees’ situation at third base feels both unique and familiar. Let there be no doubt that Alex Rodriguez is a one-of-a-kind player with a one-of-a-kind contract, but in terms of the Yankees plans and preparations, Rodriguez isn’t all that different from Mark Teixeira. Both are among the game’s premier players, locked into long-term contracts at positions where the Yankees don’t have an obvious replacement rising through the system. First base belongs to Teixeira, third base belongs to Rodriguez, and it should stay that way for a long time.

Starter: Alex Rodriguez
Backup: Ramiro Pena
Veteran insurance: none
Almost ready: Kevin Russo
Low rising: Brandon Laird, Brad Suttle, (plus a handful of lower-level guys who play all over the infield)

Pena seems to be the favorite to open as the Yankees utility infielder, and that makes him the most obvious backup at third base. Similar to the situation at second, though, Russo might be a better long-term solution should the Yankees need someone other than Rodriguez to play third base more than once or twice a month. With Jerry Hairston and Eric Hinske gone, there is no veteran who could step in and handle the position for a few weeks. Laird should be in Double-A, and he has legitimate power, but Suttle might be the most intriguing young third baseman in the system. He needs to bounce back from injuries and regain the form that made him a highly touted college hitter in the 2007 draft.

Worst-case scenario: You remember what happened last spring. At the time, it was believed that Rodriguez would need a second surgery this winter, but his doctors checked him out and determined that second surgery was no longer necessary. The worst-case scenario is that those doctors were wrong. There is absolutely no reason to believe they were wrong, but the possibility looms. If Russo takes a step backward in his return to Triple-A, Laird proves unable to stick at third in his Double-A debut and Suttle’s injuries prove too much for him to stay on the field at any level, the minor league system would take a hit at third base.

Best-case scenario: Ladies and gentlemen, your 2010 American League MVP, Alex Rodriguez. The same best-case scenario that applied to first base fits perfectly at third. Look at Rodriguez’s 2007 numbers. That’s what we’re talking about here. Icing on the cake would be another .320 batting average from Russo, 20 home runs from Laird and 400 at-bats from Suttle. A huge season from one of the lower-level infielders — Garrison Lassiter, Corban Joseph, Addison Maruszak, Jimmy Paredes – would be the cherry on top.

The future: Rodriguez is signed through 2017, so any talk of the future begins with him. He even has a contract that becomes more affordable year-by-year. There is some third base talent in the minor league system, but none of it is likely to bump Rodriguez as long as Rodriguez stays productive. If Rodriguez gets hurt, his skills fall off a cliff or the Yankees make a radical decision to have him change positions, then we can talk about a change of plans. For now, Rodriguez is the Yankees present and the future at third base.

An attempt at the complete depth chart
An educated guess, but just a guess
Scranton: Kevin Russo
Trenton: Brandon Laird
Tampa: Garrison Lassiter, (eventually Brad Suttle)
Charleston: Rob Lyerly, Kevin Mahoney
Both High-A and Low-A could have a lot of guys moving all around the infield, and even Double-A and Triple-A will likely see some defensive flexibility at second, third and short.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 302 Comments →

Sponsored by:
 

Search

    Advertisement

    Follow

    Mobile

    Read The LoHud Yankees Blog on the go by navigating to the blog on your smartphone or mobile device's browser. No apps or downloads are required.

Advertisement

Place an ad

Call (914) 694-3581