Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 2/28/14

I got nothing today.  I'm just looking forward to hanging out on the couch in my sweatpants all day tomorrow watching college basketball and the Blackhawks-Penguins outdoor game.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Mike Axisa of RAB previewed the Yankees' power guys and laid some groundwork for their expected power outputs this season.

- On Tuesday, Andrew Mearns of Pinstripe Alley looked for comparisons to gauge how much bang for their buck the Yankees should expect to get from the Brett Gardner extension.

- Michael Montrone of Yanks Go Yard dished his 10 bold predictions for the 2014 Yankee season.

- Chad Jennings of LoHud got Joe and Brian McCann's takes on MLB's new collision rules.  Love anything that serves to keep McCann from getting more dinged up.

- El duque of It Is High... wondered if Tuesday's ST opener lineup could have beaten one of last year's regular season lineups.  That could actually be a really fun game to play this spring.

- On Wednesday, Chris Mitchell of Pinstripe Pundits searched for accurate comps to J.R. Murphy.

- On Thursday, Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily unveiled his top 50 Yankee prospects list for 2014.

- Vizzini of NoMaas liked the idea of pursuing a Rickie Weeks trade if Milwaukee is interested.

- Michael Eder of IIATMS/TYA examined the Diamondbacks' young infield players to see if they match up as potential trade partners.

Going with a little Nirvana for this Friday's jam.  I listened to "In Utero" beginning to end the other night and I had forgotten how great that album was.  "Nevermind" gets all the glory because it's what made them big and ushered grunge into the mainstream, but IU is the better album and anybody who knows grunge and music in general would tell you that.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

2014 Spring Training Roster Battles: Bullpen

(Courtesy of Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News)

As discussed in last week's roster evaluation post, the bullpen has experienced greater turnover from last season to this than it has in a long time.  Mo is gone, Joba is gone, Boone Logan (and Loone Bogan) are gone, and the Opening Day bullpen in 2014 will look very different than it did at any point in 2013.

The final major roster battle this spring is for those open bullpen spots.  The number of available spots could be anywhere from 3 to 1 depending on what happens with the 5th starter competition and the health of the pitchers involved in that, and there are a number of players vying for those spots.  The top competitors are an interesting group to say the least, from veterans to rookies, righties and lefties.  Adding further intrigue to the competition is the presence of the recently-signed Andrew Bailey.  He's not expected to be ready until late summer at the earliest, but he said upon arrival in camp that he "100%" expects to pitch this season.  Until that happens, here are the leading contenders for the season-opening spots.

How Well Will Joe Manage The New Replay Challenge System?

(Courtesy of Bob Osentoski/US Presswire)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

On the second of his 2 groundouts in yesterday's game, Derek Jeter ran hard down the first base line and turned a relatively routine play into a very close play at first base.  To those who saw it, the image of Jeter running hard and without any noticeable hitch in his stride was the highlight of Spring Training thus far and the only storyline that mattered after the game.  But another part of that play that didn't get talked about much may prove to be a more important talking point long-term.

Speaking to reporters post-game, Joe said that when he watched the play at first base and saw how close the play was, he immediately thought about how he would have handled challenging the call under MLB's new instant replay rules.  He couldn't actually do it in the game because yesterday's game was not using the new replay system, but the addition of these replay rules gives managers another wrinkle to consider in their in-game strategy and Joe is going through the mental motions, just like his players are on the field, to prepare himself for the situation when the games start to count.

Spring Training News And Notes: 2/27/14

(Courtesy of the AP)

The Yanks lost 8-2 in their second Grapefruit League game against the Pirates at Steinbrenner Field yesterday.  The big blow was the 5 runs allowed by Robert Coello, but the story was Derek Jeter's 2014 ST debut.

- Jeter went 0-2 at the plate, grounding out twice and playing 5 innings in the field.  He ran hard down the first base line on both grounders without issue, so at first glance the leg strength is better than it was this time last year.  Joe said he'll play again on Saturday.

- David Phelps had a solid start, giving up 1 run on a solo HR in 2 innings with 4 K and no walks.  His fastball command was good and he pounded the strike zone.

- In the morning workout, the only pitcher throwing BP was David Herndon.  Vidal Nuno and Matt Thornton threw bullpens.

- Still no word back from the doctors on Tyler Austin's wrist.  Jose Ramirez went for MRIs on his back and oblique but the results aren't back yet.  Francisco Rondon is going to be shut down for multiple weeks with a shoulder problem.