Showing posts with label Player Development. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Player Development. Show all posts

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Homegrown Hoedown

Big Mac was the king of the night last night and justifiably so.  Dude was swatting home runs over the short porch in right, speeding around the bases for 3-run triples to seal the game, and navigating a relatively young pitching staff through 9 innings of solid work to secure another win.  In looking at the box score this morning, I noticed another cool trend from last night, one deserving of its own post.  All 5 Yankee pitchers who pitched last night were under 30 years old and all 5 were homegrown players.

Chase Whitley, Adam Warren, Jose Ramirez, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson.  All drafted or signed by the Yankees, all developed through the team's farm system, all graduated to the Majors within the organization, and almost all contributing in very meaningful ways.  That's pretty cool.  When you can get 9 innings of 3-run ball with 2 BB and 8 K from a crop of your own pitchers against the best offensive team in the AL, that's gotta make your scouts and MiL people feel good.

For the season, that 5-some has combined to throw 149.1 innings.  They have a 2.41 ERA, 183 K/37 BB, and 4.6 total fWAR.  That's pretty damn good when you consider that Warren was working as a low-leverage middle relief guy at this time last year while Betances, Whitley, and Ramirez were all either working in different roles or just starting new ones in Triple-A.  Their overall track record when it comes to pitcher development doesn't look that great, but based on last night's game it would be unfair to say the Yankees completely suck at it.  There's at least a few things they have to be doing right.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Maturation Of Dellin Betances

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

He toiled away in the Minors for so long that I didn't even consider him a prospect anymore coming into this season.  If anything, Dellin Betances was still a project at 25 years old and turning 26 before Opening Day.  Despite being in the Yankee system since 2006 and making his Major League debut in 2011, Betances only had 7.2 innings pitched in 8 games in his Major League career.  Once thought of as a potential ace starting pitching prospect, the Yankees finally gave up on that dream early last season and converted Betances to a full-time relief role.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Yanks Assign ManBan To MiL Camp, Make The Right Call

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Months back, I wrote a post advocating for Manny Banuelos' inclusion in the Spring Training rotation competition if he was healthy enough to do so.  My thinking was that if he showed no ill effects from the Tommy John Surgery that cost him his 2013 season, he offered more upside as the 5th starter than anybody else the Yankees had in-house.  I didn't expect the Yankees to deviate from their cautious plan with ManBan, but I would have been fully on board with the idea if they did.

As it turns out, there were plenty of ill effects from Banuelos' TJS on display in his 2 Spring Training outings, although none that were physical or arm-related, and ManBan made it easy for the Yankees to cut him from Major League camp yesterday morning and assign him to High-A Tampa camp.  While his fastball velocity was encouraging in the low 90s, his command wasn't there on any of his pitches and Banuelos got knocked around for 7 ER on 4 H and 3 BB in 1.0 total IP over his 2 appearances.  Like most other pitchers who come back from TJS, ManBan has a long way to go to regain the feel for his stuff and the best place to start doing that is in the Minors.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Yankees Finally Getting On The Statistical Bandwagon?

Anthony McCarron had a story yesterday detailing the changes the Yankees have made to their Minor League operations this offseason.  While it still seems strange that both Damon Oppenheimer and Mark Newman could keep their jobs despite the farm system's recent failures, there are other things that have changed, including more scouts being hired, upgrades to the Tampa facility, the hiring of former Major League manager Mike Quade as the outfield/baserunning coordinator, and more efforts being put towards injury prevention.

What stood out most to me in the list of improvements was the reference to a statistical analyst being added to the fold:

"Down the hall from Newman’s office sits a 'PhD in advanced math and statistics,' says Newman, a statistical analyst devoted to the player development department."

The article didn't specify if this was a new position or not, but I sincerely hope it isn't.  If the Yankees are just now getting on board with the idea of advanced statistical analysis and applying it to their scouting and player development, they are seriously behind the curve.  The lack of statistical analysis being integrated into their scouting and development strategies could be another reason we've seen the farm system struggle so badly in the recent past, and to just be adding it now doesn't make me feel good about having the same guys in charge of running the Minors.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ManBan In The Bullpen? Sure, Why Not?

ESPN NY is in the middle of rolling out a big 3-part look at the Yankee farm system and its recent struggles, and while I think Wally was a little heavy-handed with his "doom and gloom" overview in Part I, there was an eye-catching bit about Manny Banuelos that I think warrants further discussion:

"Banuelos has got that big arm," a front office source said. "If it's still there and the lightning still strikes then you're going see people say, 'Fuck it, bring him with us [on Opening Day].'"

I've been a big advocate of giving ManBan a real chance at a rotation spot in camp this year.  There's nothing to lose really.  If he doesn't pitch well enough to earn it, send him to Triple-A.  But I could totally get on board with bringing him along on the Opening Day roster in the bullpen if he pitches well enough for one of those open spots.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Yanks To Get Aggressive With 2013 1st Rounders?

(Courtesy of somebody)

This almost slipped through the cracks last week, but with AB4AR Prospect Week right around the corner I figured I had to swing back and address it.  VP of player ops Mark Newman spoke to the media last week on a wide range of prospect-related topics.  Most of it was updates on players' health and confirming whether or not guys would be ready to start the season, standard stuff.  The one interesting bit of news was related to the plan for 2013 1st rounders Eric Jagielo and Aaron Judge this season.  According to Newman, the Yankees could start both of them at High-A Tampa this year, and if not, there's a very good chance both at least start in Low-A Charleston.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This Doesn't Make Any Sense

So let me get this straight.  The 2 guys in charge of the groups that have horrible recent track records in terms of drafting and developing amateur talent, who were also presumably heavily involved in developing and following the procedures that were already in place, are being rewarded for their departmental failures by getting to keep their jobs for another season?  Does that make any sense to you, Dean Ambrose?


I'm going to have to agree with you there, Dean Ambrose.  Procedural changes are all well and good, but the Yankees are still going to have the same people at the top enforcing those new procedures and those people have been proven to be ineffective in those roles.  The Yanks needed to take a big swing at revamping their MiL program and instead they squared around to bunt with 2 strikes.  Inexplicable.

P.S.- Guess that's what I get for deviating from my norm and praising Hal yesterday.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

And So Ends A Sad Chapter In Yankee Pitching History

(Courtesy of Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

17.8.  After 14 combined seasons filled with injuries, bad luck, bad developmental decisions, and just plain bad pitching, that's what the Yankees have to show for their years of team control over Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.  17.8 fWAR.  Or if you prefer the BR version, 13.4.  That's over the course of 442 appearances and 1,225.1 innings pitched, and you don't have to be a sabermetric genius to figure out that's not exactly prime bang for your buck in terms of value.  Hughes and Chamberlain never lived up to the hype as pitching prospects and as of 12 o'clock this morning, with no qualifying offers in their hands, they were free to leave the Yankees and pursue a fresh start with a new ballclub.  Chances are microscopically slim that either will return to the Yankees next season.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Get Over Here, Newman. You Don't Get To Skate That Easily


(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Yesterday when I raked Damon Oppenheimer over the coals and mocked the Yankees for allowing him to keep his job, the general consensus in the comment section was that the problem in the Yankee farm system was more development-based than draft-based.  There's a lot of truth to that statement, more than I might have realized at the time I was writing the Oppenheimer post, and Senior VP of Baseball Operations Mark Newman shoulders the bulk of that responsibility.  He's the one in charge of the team's developmental plan in the Minors and his recent track record is actually worse than Oppenheimer's.  Case in point, Baseball America's 2013 top 10 Yankee prospects and their career paths to date:
  • 1) Mason Williams- .404 wOBA in SS Staten Island in 2011, .381 in Low-A/.331 in High-A in 2012, .317 in High-A in 2013.
  • 2) Slade Heathcott- .335 wOBA in Low-A in 2010, .346 in Low-A in 2011, .389 in High-A in 2012, .334 in Double-A in 2013
  • 3) Gary Sanchez- .461 wOBA in the GCL in 2010, .364 in Low-A in 2011, .390 in Low-A in 2012, .336 in High-A/.348 in Double-A in 2013
  • 4) Tyler Austin- .434 in SS Staten Island in 2011, .442 in Low-A/.391 in High-A in 2012, .333 in Double-A in 2013
  • 5) Jose Campos- 2.38 FIP in SSL in 2011, 3.24 in Low-A in 2012, 2.83 in Low-A in 2013
  • 6) Brett Marshall- 2.96 FIP in Low-A in 2010, 3.24 in High-A in 2011, 4.09 in Double-A in 2012, 4.62 in Triple-A in 2013
  • 7) Angelo Gumbs- .347 wOBA in SS Staten Island in 2011, .339 in Low-A in 2012, .282 in Low-A/.266 in High-A in 2013
  • 8) Manny Banuelos- 2.76 FIP in Low-A in 2009, 1.71 in High-A in 2010, 4.01 in Double-A in 2011, 3.83 in Triple-A in 2012
  • 9) Ty Hensley- 4.20 FIP in 12.0 GCL IP in 2012, injured in 2013
  • 10) Rafael DePaula- 1.84 FIP in the DSL in 2012, 2.03 in Low-A/4.63 in High-A in 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How Do I Get Damon Oppenheimer's Job Security?

(Do you even know how to read that thing, dude?  Courtesy of The NY Daily News)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Because if I sucked at my job as much as he's sucked at his and had been sucking at it for as long as he has been, my employer would have axed me years ago.  They especially would have done it if I were in his situation where my bosses were strongly hinting at making changes in my department, but somehow Oppenheimer survived last week's organizational meetings and will continue on as amateur scouting director next year. Real quickly, here's a list of the Yankees' 1st round draft picks since Oppenheimer took that position:
From that group, only 2 3 players (forgot about Brackman) took the field as Yankees and neither of them will be with the organization next year, 2 of them either never signed or flamed out before they could even do anything for the organization, and the rest have never played a game above the Double-A level.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Mid-Morning Food For Thought

Since Damon Oppenheimer took over as amateur scouting director during the 2005-2006 offseason, here is the breakdown of position players drafted by the Yankees who have made it to the Majors as Yankees:
That's it.  That's the list.  Those 6 players have combined for 172 games played and 443 plate appearances as part of the Yankee Major League roster.  72.2% of those PA were racked up by Romine and Adams this past season.  In those 443 PA, they've produced -1.3 total fWAR.

If you're looking for a major (maybe THE major) reason why the Yankee roster has become so old and brittle and stagnant over the last few years, there it is.  They haven't developed and inserted a single useful everyday position player into their lineup in Oppenheimer's time at the helm of amateur scouting and drafting.  That's influenced some by trades, and in fairness their results with pitchers have been better, but that's still a terrible track record to have after 8 drafts.  Even with those results and even with his mostly miss record in the 1st round, somehow Oppenheimer survived last week's meetings and will be back at the helm of amateur scouting again this year.  Welcome to Bizarro World, folks.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Report: Oppenheimer To Stay On As Amateur Scouting Director

I don't get it.  I really don't.  What legitimate reasons could there be to retain him?  Only thing I can think is that the team wants to give Ty Hensley and the 2013 1st round picks one full season to prove themselves before cutting Oppenheimer loose.  That's the only explanation that would make a shred of sense to me because the last few drafts haven't produced any real blue chippers and the last few 1st round picks have been atrocious.

If Oppenheimer is staying, hopefully those "other changes in baseball ops" that Feinsand mentioned are made in positions of significance.  If the strength and conditioning coach is going to be the only scapegoat for last season, that's not nearly enough change.

Monday, October 21, 2013

This Week's Tampa Meetings Could Bring Major MiL Changes

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

As the start of the offseason draws closer with the World Series set to begin this week, the Yankees draw closer to a potentially franchise-altering few months, one unlike anything we've seen in any of the past 5-10 years.  They've got a ton of money coming off the books, a significant chunk of additional money that could be coming off sometime in the next month or so, the current cornerstone of the franchise who may or may not leave via free agency, almost an entire starting rotation to rebuild, a floundering farm system that could finally be in for some major changes at the top, and as competitive an environment in the AL East as we've seen in years.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

More Winter Ball Pitching Decisions

We know that Vidal Nuno is going to pitch this offseason.  We know that Dellin Betances is not.  Via Chad Jennings, we now know the plans for a few more of the younger Yankee pitching prospects.  Unsurprisingly, the plans involve a lot of inactivity.

- Manny Banuelos will not be pitching this winter after throwing all season to work his arm back into shape after TJS.  The team wants him to rest this winter and be ready for spring camp.

- Michael Pineda will also not be pitching this winter.  I expect him to throw in some capacity to stay sharp and keep his arm strength up, but he won't be pitching in game action until next spring.

- Jose Ramirez, who turned some heads this year in ST, was pitching in an instructional league after an oblique strain ended his season in the Minors.  He's not expect to pitch in winter ball either.

- Ty Hensley was also pitching in an instructional league as he works his way back from 2 hip surgeries.  He won't do anything formal in the winter but he'll continue to throw and progress back from surgery to hopefully be ready for spring.

It's not a confidence booster to read about so many injured pitchers, but at least they're all healthy and working their way back.  Being ready for next season is the most important thing now.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Betances Not Allowed To Play Winter Ball?

(Scene inside Mark Newman's office.  Phones rings)

"Hello, this is Mark."

"Mr. Newman, this is Dellin Betances."

"Dellin, how are you, son?  What can I do for you?"

"Well, I was hoping I could get your permission to pitch in the Dominican Winter League this offseason.  I know I made some strides on improving my command once you moved me to the bullpen and I'd like to continue working on refining my mechanics so I can win a spot on the Major League roster next spring.  I know it's my last chance."

"Refine your mechanics, eh?  That would be beneficial to both you and our team.  We're going to need arms in the bullpen and you'd be an ideal option as a cheap, homegrown player.  But I'm sorry, I just can't allow that.  Thanks for calling though.  Enjoy your offseason."

I'm sure it didn't go down quite that way, but I really don't understand the Yankees' decision to not let Betances pitch in winter ball.  He obviously still needs the work to be an effective Major League reliever, and it's not like he threw an overwhelming number of innings this year (89.0 total between Triple-A and the Majors).  I hope the team has something else in mind for him if they don't want him pitching in game situations.  Letting somebody with sloppy mechanics like his sit all winter is hardly a smart plan when he's one of the players being considered for a bullpen spot next year.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Doubleheader Of Divergent Career Paths

If you're looking for a quick visual representation of the Yankees' organizational struggles when it comes to developing starting pitching, look no further than the 2 guys starting today's doubleheader.

Ivan Nova was an undervalued international signing.  He's been a low-ceiling starter prospect, better than advertised Major Leaguer, Game 1 postseason starter, back end rotation fodder, human batting cage pitching machine, Minor League reclamation project, extra pitching staff depth, and injury question mark all in the span of 2 years.  Currently he's the second best starter in the 2013 rotation and has gotten his career back on track with the transition to an exclusive fastball/curveball approach.

Phil Hughes was a can't miss, #1, mega-hyped American prospect, expected to be the future ace of the staff once the Core Four era was over.  He's pitched brilliantly at times, he's pitched inconceivably bad at times, and his career has been defined by his inability to consistently do the most basic things on a pitching mound that a pitcher needs to do to be successful.  He's been the worst starter in the rotation by far this season and as he heads towards the possible final weeks of his Yankee career he's watching his free agent value deteriorate with every bad pitch.

These are the best the Yankee system has generated in the last 5-7 years, and that's not saying much.  Things look brighter for Nova now than Hughes, but based on his track record there's no way to know how long this stretch of effectiveness will last and if it will carry over into next year.  We'll get another look at both of them today and another look at what could have been and what may still be.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mark Montgomery Back To The DL

(Courtesy of the AP)

At the end of last season, Mark Montgomery was the hands down top relief prospect in the Yankee system, a borderline top 10 organizational prospect overall, and on his way to breaking into the Major League bullpen sometime around now if not earlier.  After leaving his last appearance on Saturday with more shoulder problems, he's likely done for the year and has become a much bigger question mark for next season rather than a possible bullpen answer.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Possible Overcrowding In The Outfield

(Don't forget about this guy.  Courtesy of Kim Klement/US Presswire)

It dawned on me this past weekend, while doing take 2 of my final roster spot predictions, that the Yankees have supplied themselves with more than enough outfield fodder for the 2013 season.  There's not much high-ceiling talent in that collection of added players, but I'd go so far as to say they might have actually put themselves in a position where they have too many outfielders in the upper levels of the organization.  Now that's not the worst problem in the world to have when you're entering this season replacing last year's productive, 2-way, switch-hitting right fielder with a soon to be 40-year-old slap-hitting lefty, but it is something that the decision makers in both the Minor and Major League levels should be cognizant of and should make an effort to address in the appropriate manner.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Meet Your 2013 Spring Training Invitees

We're now less than 2 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, which will signal the end of the 2012-2013 offseason and start the transition towards the 2013 regular season.  The Yankees released their list of non-roster invitees to camp yesterday, all 44 of them, and combined with the guys on the 40-man roster they should make for a very entertaining camp.  There's a heavy dose of young MiL players and prospects in this 44-man group, with a sprinkling of older veteran players, mostly the guys who've been recently signed to MiL deals to compete for bench jobs.  Full list of non-roster invitees and a few quick thoughts on the group after the jump.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Don't Move Tyler Austin To Third Base

(Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio)

Give the Yankees credit for leaving no stone unturned in their search to find a long-term replacement for Alex Rodriguez at third base.  Earlier this week, Chad Jennings of LoHud had some Minor League news bits, and one of them mentioned Yankee brass giving thought to moving top prospect Tyler Austin back to third.  By the sounds of Chad's report, we aren't going to be seeing Austin back at the hot corner next season, but it also didn't sound like the idea of was ruled out completely.

“He’s a better defender in right,” vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said. “But (putting him back at third) is something we’ve thought about. It’s a possibility.”

Austin was originally drafted as a catcher, quickly moved to third base last season, and then moved to right field almost as quickly.  Far be it for me to tell the Yankees where he's best suited in the field, but I think if it was already decided that he might not be able to handle third base, then he and the Yankees are better off not moving him to third base and keeping him right where he is in right.

Let's face it, Austin isn't going to win any Gold Gloves at the Major League level.  His bat is what's carrying him through the Minors right now and it's what's going to carry him to the show if he keeps hitting like this.  While the Yankees do need a more permanent solution at third base than Kevin Youkilis, they could also use one in right field.  Ichiro is only signed for 2 years, and could probably use a right-handed platoon partner in right as it is.  If Austin has picked up the defensive nuances of right field well enough to play it full time, keep him right there, let his bat continue to do its thing, and maybe he ends up being that right-handed platoon bat in 2014 as a way to break into the Majors. The Yankees don't have great success trying to move their young players to new positions, and I'd rather not see Austin's development hit a speed bump because of more defensive musical chairs.