Monday, June 9, 2014

Catching Up With The 2014 AB4AR Top 30

(Do it, Luis.  Do the damn thing.  Courtesy of

The completion of the draft marks an unofficial checkpoint of sorts for the Minor League season.  With a fresh crop of players ready to join the organizational ranks, start their pro careers, and insert themselves into the prospect conversation, the timing is perfect to look back at the crop of pre-existing prospects and gauge how they've performed over the first few months.

The 2013-2014 edition of the AB4AR Top 30 was released on the final week of January.  A lot has happened to those 30 players since then, some good, like Rob Refsnyder's Double-A breakout, and some bad, like Jose Campos' Tommy John Surgery.  Here's a quick check-in on all 30 prospects to see where they sit and how they're trending towards the second half of this season.

Monday Late Morning Food For Thought: Enough Is Enough, And It's Time For A Change*

Yesterday's game was the culmination of 2 weeks of horrifically bad offensive production.  There were some legitimate excuses for that while guys like Teix and Beltran were out of the lineup, but they both returned last week and those returns did nothing to change the piss poor performance.  1-17 with runners in scoring position is almost unfathomable, even more so when you consider the fact that the 1 hit they did get with RISP yesterday didn't even score a run.  Heading into tonight's game, here's where the Yankees find themselves offensively:
  • 13th in the American League (out of 15 teams) in Runs Scored with 249
  • 12th in OBP (.315)
  • 10th in SLG (.382)
  • 12th in wOBA (.309)
  • 13th in wRC+ (91)
  • 14th in total position player fWAR (4.4)
The Yanks left themselves vulnerable to this when they tried to fill out their roster on the cheap, they took a passive wait-and-see approach with the injuries and lost out on a player who could have helped the offense, and now they're reaping what they've sewn.  The time for excuses is gone now and all that matters is fixing this.  I'm not sure what can or will be done but it better be something.  Despite their poor offensive output, the Yanks are only 5 games out in the loss column in the AL east and 2 out in the Wild Card.  If they're going to stay committed to contending, which is what they said they were doing when they had the big offseason spending spree, maintaining this status quo ain't going to cut it.

* P.S.- If you got that Owen Hart reference in the post title, I want to be friends with you.

2014 MLB Draft Thoughts And Afterthoughts

(The right-handed Ian Clarkin?  Used courtesy of The Foxboro Reporter)

The Yankees wrapped up their 2014 draft on Saturday by following the formula they had set in the first 2 days.  They were focused primarily on college players and pitchers, with over 80% of their 39 picks making up that first category and over 60% the second.  It was hardly a gambling man's draft by the Yankees, with signability reigning supreme over upside.  That said, I think the Yankees did a pretty good job selecting players in the first 10-20 rounds who have good chances of helping the team in some capacity in the very near and very distant futures.  I feel better about that possibility than I did after the 2012 or 2013 drafts, so in that respect I guess I have to call the Yankees' draft a success at this point in time.  After the jump, some more thoughts on the players, the possibilities, and the plan from here as a final wrap-up of this year's draft.

Report: Kelley To Return This Week

Shawn Kelley began his MiL rehab assignment over the weekend after making it through another throwing program without further injury to his back.  He pitched 0.2 innings for the Trenton Thunder on Saturday, recording both his outs via the strikeout and walking a batter in 19 pitches.  His back came through that perfectly fine and so the team has decided he can return this week after 1 more rehab appearance.

Joe told reporters before yesterday's game that Kelley would make that final rehab appearance tonight, possibly for Triple-A SWB, and then travel to Seattle to rejoin the team on Wednesday against the Mariners.  I'm a little wary of Kelley pitching and then having to sit down on a cross-country flight with a recovering back, but the Yankees need all the help they can get right now and Kelley will provide a lot for the bullpen.  His return means fewer innings for the mediocre middle relievers and a much-needed break in workload for Betances and Warren.