Thursday, February 20, 2014

Yanks Put 2 In Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects

For some reason I thought Baseball America had already released its Top 100 Prospects list for 2014, so shame on me for being wrong.  It was actually released this morning, and unlike most of the other major top 100 lists the Yankees were represented by more than 1 player on this one.  The first was Masahiro Tanaka, who BA ranked as the 4th best prospect in baseball, and the second was Gary Sanchez at 35.

Personally I don't consider Tanaka a true "prospect" because of the time he spent playing in the NPB, but that's just me.  If you do consider him one, then it's almost impossible to not rank him in the top 5.  Sanchez at 35 is a pleasant surprise since he was 57th on this list last year and didn't exactly light the world on fire in 2013.  As I've said before, it just speaks to how highly scouts think of his natural talent and potential ceiling.

Honest Post-Offseason Roster Evaluation: The Rotation

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Last year was a strange combination of opposites for the Yankee rotation.  CC Sabathia went from no-doubt ace to one of the worst pitchers on the staff by year's end while Ivan Nova went from almost getting pulled from the rotation in April to the best pitcher on the staff by year's end.  Hiroki Kuroda was excellent again, save for the final month or 2 of the season, while Phil Hughes was pretty much horrible again, save for a month or 2's worth of good starts.  The steadying force in the middle of the rotation was grizzled vet Andy Pettitte, who battled through early back problems to turn in a final few masterful performances in September and join his buddy Mo in going out at the top of his game.  In the end, that wasn't enough to put the rotation over the top and the group as a whole didn't pitch well enough to overcome the team's offensive deficiencies.

Pettitte is gone now, as is Hughes, and a new era of Yankee starting pitching could be dawning in 2014.  The Yanks replaced Pettitte with the big prize of this year's free agent class, they're hoping to replace Hughes with the mid-20s former stud who they traded for 2 years ago, and Nova could be on the verge of making the jump to legitimate top-of-the-rotation starter.  After last year's inconsistency, the rotation once again looks to be a strength for the 2014 Yankees.

Spring Training News And Notes: 2/19/14

(Courtesy of the AP)

The remaining position players who hadn't showed up yet were scheduled to report to camp yesterday.  First full-team workout will be today.  Here's yesterday's highlights:

- Manny Banuelos threw live BP at the MiL complex.  First time he's pitched to live hitters since some sim games late last season.

- Eduardo Nunez took a bunch of grounders from Mick Kelleher at short and third.

- The big news of the day obviously happened off the field, when Derek Jeter talked to the media about his decision to make the 2014 season his final one.  Had the deets on that earlier.

- Another positive injury update- Tyler Austin told reporters his right wrist is back to 100%.  He's been working mostly in right field but has also taken some grounders at third.

- The day's bullpen sessions: David Robertson, Matt Thornton, David Phelps, Jose Campos, Chris Leroux, and Yoshinori Tateyama.  Guess his visa issues are resolved.