Monday, August 12, 2013

Prospect Stock Watch: August 2013

(Jagielo in action.  Courtesy of Ashley Marshall/

I'm a little late for this next "Prospect Watch" post from when it was last month, which was much later than the post before that, so as far as meeting deadlines for these monthly prospect posts go I'm spitting the bit and I know that.  But, with another month plus passing since the last edition, we've now built up enough of a sample size in the short season leagues to start commenting on the guys down there.  It's been a rough go for some names expected to be big contributors this year, but a couple of international standouts in the GCL have helped balance things out.  After the jump, an in-depth look at the guys making noise in Staten Island and the GCL.

Mo's Recent Home Struggles

(Say it ain't Mo.  Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

In a scene that seemed unfathomable even as it was happening, Mariano Rivera blew a 9th inning lead again yesterday, giving up 2 solo home runs to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez to tie the game the Yankees won soon after.  The blown save was Mo's third in a row, the first time he's ever done that in his career and the first time it's happened in Yankee history since Kyle Farnsworth did it in 2006.  A pitcher of Farnsworth's caliber blowing 3 saves in a row is hardly news, but to watch Mo do it, even in short highlight form, was unnerving and unfamiliar.  He's allowed his 1 or 2 bad weeks a year and it just so happens that this past week was one of those weeks.  For as long as he's been around, intelligent Yankee fans know that it's no cause for concern  Still, it's always weird watching Mo when he doesn't have it and yesterday was one of those days.  It continued a strange trend of Mo having his worst moments at home this season.

2013 Draft Already Looking Shaky

You may have noticed that the only 2013 1st round pick to start his pro career is Eric Jagielo.  He's hit .248/.358/.336 in 134 plate appearances with SS Staten Island, this underwhelming production coming after he had the start of his season delayed by a hamstring injury.  Lefty Ian Clarkin has been out with an ankle issue since signing, and last week it was reported that OF Aaron Judge, the last of the 3 to sign, will be put on the MiL DL with a quad injury.

3 1st round picks, 3 injuries, 3 delayed starts to the season, 2 of which could end up shutting guys down for the remainder of the year since we haven't heard anything about rehab schedules for Clarkin and Judge.  Add in 3rd rounder Michael O'Neill's .299 wOBA and 33.0% K rate in 200 SS league PAs and the shine has already come off the 2013 draft class.  Gosuke Katoh is hitting well in the GCL, but that level of competition is barely above what he was playing against in HS.  As Austin Aune's 2013 has shown us, it's a bit of a stretch to get excited about 1 good GCL season.

It's far too early to declare this season's class a bust.  There's no way to account for injuries that happen after a player is drafted, but with how little the Yankees have gotten from their top picks the last 2 years (Aune, Hensley, DBJ, Culver) it is disheartening to see another group of top picks get off to rough starts.  They've taken a lot of heat for their 1st round picks recently, and the injuries to this year's crop don't help to turn down that heat.

Game 116 Wrap-Up: NYY 5 DET 4

(Brett Gardner, clutch hitter.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Well how about them apples, eh?  After dipping into the "blown save/walk-off win" well on Friday night to start this series, the Yankees decided to take a dive in it again on Sunday to close out the series.  In a game that was an exercise in head scratching - Andy Pettitte only making it through 4.1 innings despite allowing only a run, A-Rod actually hitting RHP, Austin Jackson forgetting how to run the bases, Mo blowing more saves - the Yankees somehow managed to come out on the winning side and get their first series win since early July.  If you missed it, you picked the wrong Sunday to make other plans.

Game Notes:

- So yeah, Andy.  He was magician out there yesterday, the kind of one who has no real stage show to impress you but pulls off some neat tricks.  He gave up his lone run on 3 hits and a walk in the top of the 1st, and stranded 5 runners through the next 3 innings to keep it at 1.

- He didn't have to wait long to get some run support and it came in a big way from Alex Rodriguez, who yanked a Justin Verlander fastball on the inner half over the left field fence to tie it at 1.  An Eduardo Nunezx sac fly a few batters later gave New York the lead.

- A-Rod extended that lead with a ribbie single in the 3rd, and Alfonso Soriano added to it in the 4th with another lead off home run, reaching the 2,000 career hits milestone in the process.  Definitely worth saving that ball.

- Andy loaded the bases with 1 out in the top of the 5th and Joe went to his bullpen to preserve the lead.  It was the right move given how hard Andy had to work (102 pitches) and it worked out perfectly as Shawn Kelley and Boone Logan each tossed scoreless 1.1-inning appearances to get to the 8th.

- David Robertson came on for the 8th and immediately gave up a solo HR to make it 4-2.  With 1 on and 1 out, he looked like he was going to give up another on a Torii Hunter deep drive until Brett Gardner made a great catch and turned an inning-ending double play thanks to Jackson's brain fart on the basepaths.

- Handed that bit of good luck, Mo couldn't do the job in the 9th, giving up 2 solo HR to Miguel Cabrera (again) and Victor Martinez to tie the game.  3 straight blown saves.

- Didn't need extras to fix that mistake this time.  With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, Gardner was looking to swing big in a 1-0 fastball count.  He got one right down the middle from Jose Veras and crushed it into the second deck in right for his second walk-off hit in 3 days.