A few winter league numbers • 01.06.11
Just a few winter league statistics from the Yankees organization. As usual, there aren’t many big names playing down south this offseason, but there are a few names that might at least ring a bell.
.233/.295/.308 in 33 games
Splitting his time pretty evenly between shortstop and third base, the Yankees utility infielder put up a fairly typical offensive slash line (though he did hit one homer). Truth be told, even for Pena this was a pretty slow offensive winter. He’s hit better than this the past two winters.
Dominican Winter League
.348/.333/.391 in seven games
Nunez bunted a ball off his face and was limited to only seven games. Last time I talked to anyone in the Yankees organization about the incident, the team hadn’t heard much but knew enough to be overly concerned. Like Pena, Nunez was getting time at shortstop and third base.
Dominican Winter League
.240/.356/.300 in 14 games
Tiny sample size for Curtis, who got all of his time in the outfield corners this winter (and probably made some pretty solid money doing it). He actually had a hit in six of his last season games, and finished with the same number of walks as strikeouts, but it’s hard to make too much out of 14 games.
Venezuelan Winter League
1-2, 6.89 ERA in 19 games
The hard-throwing right-hander did have 17 strikeouts in 15.2 innings, and he generated a lot of ground balls, but he also allowed a .292 opponents batting average and gave up three homers. Not nearly as good as last year’s winter ball numbers (45 strikeouts and a .218 opponents average in 31 innings).
Venezuelan Winter League
.306/.393/.389 in 25 games
This is the outfielder the Yankees claimed off waivers this winter. He played center field and right field this winter, and he got his hits in bunches. He had seven multi-hit games, including three three-hit games.
.346/.401/.647 in 36 games
If you don’t already know this name, you should probably store it somewhere in the back of your mind. Vazquez is a big, power-hitting corner infielder who more than held his own in Triple-A last season. He’s primarily a first baseman, but he can play third. He hit 10 homers but also struck out 41 times this winter.
Venezuelan Winter League
5-3, 2.79 ERA in 14 games, 13 starts
There is absolutely nothing flashy about Schmidt, but this is the second winter in a row in which he’s pitched very well in Venezuela. He’s been terrific in Trenton as well, but his stuff simply doesn’t compare to the bigger name pitchers in the Yankees system. He’s eligible free agency after this season, and it will be good for him to move on.
.356/.452/.561 in 64 games
I believe Christian is a minor league free agent, but he spent last season in the Yankees organization and has his only big league service time with the Yankees. I mention him primarily because he was absolutely dominant this winter, leading the league in hits, doubles, stolen bases, runs and extra-base hits. He fell off the map with some injury problems the past few years, but those winter league numbers are hard to ignore.
A few more…
C Gustavo Molina: .170/.207/.364 in 31 games in Venezuela
Signed as a minor league free agent this winter.
LHP Andy Sisco: 6-5, 4.04 in 15 games in Mexico
Minor league signing worked as a starter this winter.
INF Walter Ibarra: .303/.356/.387 in 56 games in Mexico
Class-A utility man did pretty well for himself.
SS Jose Pirela: .333/.387/.471 in 29 games in Venezuela
Fringy prospect hit just .180 in the Arizona Fall League.
INF Luis Nunez: .361/.425/.389 in 15 games in Venezuela
Continuing a trend, another organizational infielder with good winter stats.
LHP Wilkin Arias: 3-0, 3.21 in 17 games in the Dominican
30-year-old held lefties to a .192 average. Old for a prospect.
RHP Eric Wordekemper: 0-0, 6.05 in 21 games in Mexico
Four-run outing didn’t help. Good Triple-A numbers last year.
Associated Press photo of Pena
Triple-A and Double-A playoffs begin tonight • 09.08.10
The postseason in minor league baseball is kind of a strange thing. The best teams lose their best players to call-ups, and the rosters that earned spots in the postseason take on a completely different look for the most important games of the year.
To be honest, I liked that about covering Triple-A. Things change, often suddenly, and that’s part of the experience. Everyone understands and accepts what’s going on. I don’t like the phrase “it is what it is,” but it is what it is.
The Yankees top three affiliates all advanced to the postseason this year. High-A Tampa got started with a win last night. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton get started tonight.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre opens the International League playoffs against Columbus. The first two pitchers they’ll face should be familiar: David Huff was hit in the head by an Alex Rodriguez line drive earlier this season, and Zach McAllister was traded by the Yankees to complete the Austin Kearns deal.
Even after September call-ups, the Triple-A Yankees still have some familiar names on the roster. Kevin Russo and Chad Huffman are both there after spending some time in the big leagues this season, George Kontos is there in his first year back from Tommy John surgery and Justin Christian is with Scranton after making his big league debut with the Yankees a few years ago. Of course, the roster also includes top position prospect Jesus Montero and third baseman Brandon Laird, who had a real breakout year down in Double-A.
Tonight: Columbus LHP David Huff (8-2., 4.36) vs. Yankees RHP D.J. Mitchell (2-0, 3.57)
Thursday: Columbus RHP Zach McAllister (9-12, 5.29) vs. Yankees RHP David Phelps (4-2, 3.07)
Friday: Columbus RHP Yohan Pino (10-9, 5.75) vs. Yankees LHP Kei Igawa (3-4, 4.32)
Saturday: Columbus RHP Paolo Espino (3-3, 5.62) vs. Yankees RHP Hector Noesi (1-1, 4.82)
Sunday: Columbus RHP Corey Kluber (1-1, 3.27) vs. Yankees RHP Lance Pendleton (2-1, 4.24)
Down in Trenton, the Double-A Thunder are opening against New Hampshire and facing top Blue Jays pitching prospect Kyle Drabek in Game 1. Of course, all eyes will be on Game 2, when Andy Pettitte makes a rehab start for Trenton.
Trenton has lost some key players to injuries and call-ups this season — most recently, Corban Joseph went on the DL — but the roster still has Austin Romine, Dan Brewer, recently promoted Pat Venditte and an impressive rotation that includes three of the top arms in the organization in Betances, Banuelos and Brackman.
Tonight: Trenton RHP Dellin Betances (0-0, 3.37) vs. New Hampshire RHP Kyle Drabek (14-9, 2.94)
Thursday: Trenton LHP Andy Pettitte (rehab) vs New Hampshire LHP Zach Stewart (8-3, 3.63)
Friday: Trenton LHP Manny Banuelos (0-1, 3.52) vs. New Hampshire RHP Randy Boone (5-10, 3.98)
Saturday: Trenton RHP Andrew Brackman (5-7, 3.01) vs. New Hampshire RHP B.J. LaMura (5-6, 3.73
Sunday: Trenton RHP Cory Arbiso (5-5, 4.38) vs. New Hampshire TBA
Those are headshots of Montero and Romine
No one at the ballpark is used to this. The Yankees are about to play their fifth day game in a row, and every morning has felt just a little bit odd. I’ve seriously had three conversations about what day it is. When the writers walked into the press conference room to meet with Joe Girardi, someone joked about the whole room needing coffee and Girardi suddenly walked out of the room.
He returned with a coffee maker. Seriously. The Yankees manager brought coffee to the writers this morning. We’ve reached that point.
There really wasn’t much to discuss when the actual press conference started. At the time, Girardi was waiting to talk to Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez before posting his lineup. At this point, though, it seems both Swisher and Rodriguez came through their pregame workouts without any problems.
So far, they’re both still in the lineup.
Rodriguez said he felt good as he walked out of the clubhouse to the field earlier this morning, and Swisher said the same when he came back into the clubhouse after running. Something could change between now and first pitch, but right now there’s no indication that a lineup change is coming.
• Andy Pettitte threw only a very light bullpen this morning. Roughly 20 pitches, not at 100 percent intensity, with the catcher setup in front of home plate. Pretty standard stuff for a light bullpen day. He felt fine afterward.
• The plan is 65 pitches or four innings for Pettitte on Wednesday. “We’ll see how it goes,” Girardi said. “I kind of anticipate that it would probably be two rehab starts, but if it’s one, it’s one.”
• Why would Pettitte need two rehab appearances when Girardi previously said he would be OK with Pettitte throwing only 75 pitches in his first game back? “If he gets to 65 (in the rehab start), then the area of concern the next time is 65 to 80,” Girardi said. “So if he’s at 75, then you know he should be fine all the way up to 75, and then you start to get a little bit worried if he gets fatigued (beyond 75 pitches).”
• Girardi on Colin Curtis: “With some of the injuries we have, we just thought we could use another outfielder. It just gives us flexibility.”
• Swisher said the knee injury feels like tightness, like his knee doesn’t want to go when he tells it to go. That’s why he was worried and didn’t want to push it, but now that he knows there’s no structural damage, he feels ready to play. “If we can deal with the pain, we can deal with playing,” he said.
• Rotation questions have become pretty standard recently: “Right now we’re on turn,” Girardi said. “Everyone is going to get an extra day here because of the off day on Thursday.”
• Austin Kearns said his injury is really just wear and tear. There wasn’t one incident that caused it, and he seems to think it’s not a big deal. He has it pretty lightly wrapped.
• With Curtis called up, Justin Christian has been promoted to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Taylor Grote has been promoted to Trenton.
Associated Press picture from yesterday of Derek Jeter with Reggie Jackson