Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Josh Norris' "State Of The System"

I'm a day late on this, but if you're looking for some good afternoon/evening reading, look no further than Josh Norris' 4-part "State of The System" series that he posted over on his blog on Sunday.  Norris covers the Trenton Thunder full time, but he's also one of the foremost authorities on the Yankee farm system in general, and the insight he provides and direct quotes from scouts that he posts here is further proof. 

I'm always fascinated by the drastically different opinions that one scout and another can have on one prospect, and there are more than a few of those cases in Josh's report.  Definitely a must-read if you like following the Minors or fancy yourself an amateur prospect expert.

- Triple-A Empire State

- Double-A Trenton

- High-A Tampa

- Low-A Charleston

A Quick Word On Roger Clemens

Everybody knows by now that the verdict came back in the Roger Clemens perjury trial yesterday, and unsurprisingly it came back not guilty on all counts.  Seeing the way the Barry Bonds trial played out, I knew this was coming, and I don't feel bad saying that you're a complete idiot if you expected anything otherwise.  I didn't give this incredible waste of media air time and US taxpayer money one second of thought while it was going on, and I didn't give it one more second when the verdict was announced yesterday.

I don't need a guilty verdict to know that Roger Clemens used steroids.  I know he did, and I've known for a while now.  And it really doesn't change my opinion of him because I was never a big Roger Clemens fan anyway.  I always thought he was an asshole; I always thought he was a money-grubbing mercenary who was too caught up in the smell of his own farts and the sound of the local and national media fellating him to care about any of his teammates or fans.  My greatest memory of Clemens is him pitching like shit and probably faking an injury to get removed from Game 3 of the 2007 ALDS, so that should tell you everything you need to know about where I stand on him.

That being said, when I saw the video of his post-verdict press conference yesterday, I did have one thought and one thought only that went through my head.

Singing The Songs Of The Unsung Bullpen Heroes

(Cody Who??? Courtesy of Getty Images)

Say what you will about the Yankees' organizational ability to successfully manage their young pitching prospects and build them into something useful, or their ability to scout and sign the right external free agent pitchers to strengthen their rotation.  Both of those track records are filled with their fair share of flops and failures, and any kind of reasonable criticism directed at them comes with some truth attached.  But if there's one thing the Yankees have done consistently well in recent years, it's find and implement good relief pitching from unexpected sources.  Internally, externally, sometimes seemingly out of nowhere.  The Yankees know how to get value from undervalued relief assets and the Cody Eppley-Clay Rapada tag team this season is just the latest example.

Game 66 Wrap-Up: NYY 6 ATL 2

(Fastball command is funny.  Courtesy of The AP)

After a long day at the office, I just didn't have another live blog in me for last night's game.  And with CC Sabathia back on the mound, I wanted to spend more time watching the game and really pay attention to his fastball to see if he had made any improvements with it.  Swish was still out of commish, and Raul got the night off with the lefty Mike Minor on the mound for Atlanta, so the lineup was a little short.  But Carsten was on his game, and Minor couldn't repeat the success that he had the last time out.

Game Notes:

- The Braves came into the game scoreless in their last 20 innings, and it took all of 4 pitches from CC to end that streak.  A leadoff triple to left-center for Michael Bourn and a groundout by Martin Prado and Atlanta led 1-0.

- That was all Atlanta would get, though, as CC worked out of the inning without further issue and needed just 26 more pitches to get through the first 3 frames.  The Braves helped by swinging early (4 1-pitch outs), but give CC credit for that too by being around the plate.

- Minor brought his pitching shoes to The Stadium last night, and matched CC out for out early.  He no-hit the Yanks the first time through the lineup, and through 4 innings had only allowed 1 baserunner.

- CC put the first 2 runners on in the 4th and got out of it, but he wasn't so lucky in the 5th.  Leadoff single by Jason Heyward, infield single off a deflection by Andrelton Simmons, and a 1-out RBI single from Bourn on a pretty good pitch and it was 2-0 Atlanta.

- Minor lost the no-hit bid in the 5th after giving up a leadoff single to A-Rod, and lost the shutout soon after.  Robinson Cano walked, and on a 3-0 pitch Russell Martin got the green light and lined a 1-out ground-rule double to left to score A-Rod and cut the lead in half.  Derek Jeter followed with a 2-out 2-run single to center after a great at-bat and the Yankees took a 3-2 lead.

- If Fredi Gonzalez wasn't regretting sending Minor out to start the bottom of the 6th when the inning started, he definitely was after Mark Teixeira took a hanging change from Minor and parked it in the left field bleachers to lead off the inning.

- You expect your ace to give you shutdown innings after you take a lead, and CC gave the Yankees 3 after they put runs on the board in the 5th, 6th, and 7th.  The 6th-8th innings were easily CC's best of the night; he threw a lot of strikes and got 4 Ks, plus 2 slick plays by Jeter and Cano to end the 7th and 8th innings and preserve a 5-2 Yankee lead.

- Another Robbie Cano HR for more insurance?  Why the hell not?