Sunday, July 22, 2012

NY Yankees: Minor League Update plus Gardner out causes more trade rumors

With the second half of the Major League season under way I
thought I would give an update on the Yankees Triple-A affiliate
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and some stats on a few players at Double-A
      Scranton plays in the International League North Division and
currently have a record of 55-45. They are tied for second place with
the Phillies Triple-A affiliate Leigh Valley Iron Pigs and both trail
the Red Sox affiliate Pawtucket by a half game. Scranton has a home
record of 33-23 while going 22-22 on the road.
      They are fourth in the league in hitting with a team average of
.262. They are fourth in homeruns with 84, fifth in RBIs with 430,
tied for eigth in stolen bases with 62, fourth in strike outs with
784, first in walks with 407. Scranton is first in the league in OBP
at .346, third in slugging percentage at .406 and third in OPS at .752
      I hate to say it but rival Pawtucket is at the top of most
offensive categories. They are first with .272 BA, second with 104
HRs, first with 460 RBIs. Fourth in walks (353), ninth in stolen bases
(62) and 11th in strike outs (690).
      Leading Scranton in hitting is first baseman Steve Pearce. In
192 ABs he is hitting .318 with 11 homeruns,30 RBIs, 29 walks, and 30
strike outs. He has an OBP of .419, a slugging percentage of .568, an
OPS of .968 and he has committed four errors in 53 games. There are
two other players with good numbers Russell Branyon is hitting
.309/11HR/38RBI and Jack Cust .265/20HR/62RBI in recent years both
have spent time in the Major Leagues . I won't go into great detail
about them because I don't consider them the future of the Yankees.
      There are two other players with pretty good numbers at
Scranton. First is second baseman Ronnier Mustelier. The 28 year old
Cuban defector who signed last June was hitting .353 with 5 homeruns
and 20 RBIs in Double-A Trenton before being moved up to Triple-A
Scranton where he is now hitting .297 with 8 homeruns, 38 RBIs in 249
at-bats. He has a slugging percentage of .466, a .352 OBP, an OPS of
.818 with 17 walks, 33 strikeouts and has made 2 errors in 63 games.
       Known as a solid defensive player who can play multiple
positions is Kevin Russo. Russo is hitting .299 with no homeruns and
27 RBIs in 301 at-bats. He has an OBP of .362, .721 OPS, and .352
slugging percentage. Russo did spend some time in the majors with the
Yankees in 2010 where he hit .184 with 4 RBIs in 49 at-bats. Both
Russo and Mustelier are in there late twenties so I don't really
consider them up and coming. If your looking for a catcher of the
future, keep looking because nobody is setting the world on fire down
on the farm.
       One player many see as a possible future Yankee is the club's
number one prospect left handed pitcher Manny Baunelos. The 21 year
old is having a bit of a rough time. He has started six games and has
a record of 0-2 with an ERA of 4.50. In 24 innings he has struck out
22 while walking 10. He has given up 2 homeruns and opponents are
hitting .299 off of him. He missed some starts earlier in the season
because of a sore lower back but was then placed on the disabled list
for precautionary reasons due to a sore left elbow. Reports were that
Baunelos was to start throwing in mid July and get back to pitching in
August. Well it's mid July right now and nothing yet. Let's see, sore
back sore left elbow, is the future as bright as we hoped for ?
       The pitcher with the best numbers at Scranton is former Major
Leaguer Ramon Ortiz who is 7-3 with an ERA of 2.84. In 18 starts he
has thrown 114 innings, struck out 74, walked 24 while giving up 10
homeruns. He has a WHIP of 1.11. Over the past 11 seasons Ortiz has
spent time with the Angels, Reds, Twins, Cubs, Nationals, Rockies, and
Dodgers. With the injuries to Sabathia and Pettitte this season I'm
Manny Banuelos
surprised he didn't get a call up to make a start or two.
       A name that has come up as an interest of the Chicago White Sox
is Scranton pitcher Dellin Betances. The 24 year old right- hander
Betances began the season at Triple-A Scranton where he started 16
games and posted a record of 3-5 with an ERA of 6.39. In 74.2 innings
he had 71strike outs, 69 walks while giving up 9 homeruns. Since then
he was sent down to Double-A Trenton where he has made 4 starts and is
1-1 with 2.92 ERA. In 24.2 innings he has 25 strike outs, 8 walks, and
gave up 1 homerun. It's been reported that the White Sox had scouts at
the last three games he started. If they are interested there have
been no reports on who the White Sox are willing give up to acquire
Bentances plus from what I hear their farm system isn't well stocked
with talent.
       Let's take a quick look at Double-A Trenton.
       Twenty-three year shortstop Jose Pirela from Valera, Venezuela
is hitting .324 with 7 homeruns, 13 doubles, 2 triples and 23 RBIs in
216 at-bats. He has an OBP of .393, a .500 SLG, and an .893 OPS. He
has 20 walks with 29 strikeouts. He has stolen 7 bases in 10 attempts
and has made 8 errors.
      David Adams a 25 year old second baseman from Margate, Florida
is hitting .315 with 3 homeruns, 14 doubles, 30 RBIs, 23 walks, and 30
strikeouts. He has an OBP of .379, a .429 SLG, a .807 OPS and has
committed 7 errors.
      Since everyone likes homeruns here's a couple of players with
some pop in their bats.
      Luke Murton a 26 year old first baseman is hitting .257 with 20
homeruns and 54 RBIs in 319 at-bats. A .336 OBP/.498 SLG/ .835 OPS.
Cody Johnson a 24 year old DH is hitting .244 with 16 homeruns and 37
RBIs in 221 ABs. A .336 OBP/ .520 SLG/ .856 OPS.
      I gave you some names and numbers that could possibly be used a
trade bait which brings me to my next segment.
      The Yankees announced that outfielder Brett Gardner will undergo
arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow and will most likely miss the
remainder of the season. Gardner injured his elbow on April 17th while
making a sliding catch only nine games into the season. So with
Gardner out the rumors have been flying around that the Yankees should
make a deal for an outfielder with speed. Some of the names that have
been mentioned are Shane Victorino, Justin Upton, Rick Ankiel, Juan
Pierre, and Coco Crisp. Here's my take on the names I just gave you
and why the Yankees should or shouldn't trade for these players.
      Money wise it wouldn't be a bad deal to get Pierre. He is only
making $ 800 thousand a year with the Phillies this season. But I say
no don't make a deal. He's never really been much of an everyday
player and he's 34 years old.
      Should they get Coco Crisp ? No !! $ 7 million a year until 2013
and 32 years of age ! No stay away !
      Rick Ankiel ? His salary is cheap $ 1.25 million this year and
he is a free agent at the end of the season. If the Yankees think they
can turn him back into a pitcher again then I'd say maybe make a deal.
His name surfaced in trade talks as a possible outfielder but then
quickly went away. Should they make a deal ? No ! he's 33 years old.
      Shane Victorino ( The Flyin' Hawaiian) has been mention quite a
bit this past week. This year with the Phillies he's hitting .253 with
8 homeruns and 38 RBIs. I like him as a player. He a switch hitter
with a little pop in his bat that can run and is a solid outfielder.
He's a free agent at the end of the season. Right now the Phillies are
paying him $ 7.3 million a year. How much money is he going to want
next season ? What will he Yankees have to give up to get him ? If I
was Brian Cashman would I make a deal ? No ! He's 31 years old.
       Hey do you see common theme here ? Age !! Everyone mentioned is
over 30. Look do they need to make a deal fast to replace Gardner ?
No. Maybe they don't even have to make one. No offense to Brett
Gardner but if the Yankees collapse down the stretch or get bounced in
the first round of the playoffs it's not going to be because they
didn't have Gardner. If the Yankees are going to make a trade before
the July 31st deadline they should make one that can help now as well
as in the future. That's why I say Cashman should really explore the
idea of making a trade for Justin Upton. This season for the Arizona
Diamond Backs Upton is hitting .273 with 8 homeruns and 41 RBIs. Over
the past four seasons he averaged 22 homeruns while hitting 31 bombs
last year. Over that same span he's averaged 71 RBIs, 15 stolen bases,
28 doubles and 134 strike outs. I'd like to see the strike outs cut
down a little. Rumor has it he doesn't see eye to eye D-Backs manager
Kirk Gibson. Who knows if that's a reflection of Upton's character or
just the firery competitive personality of Gibson who probably wants
all of his players to play with that football mentality the way he
did. Whatever the case Upton is 24 years old and just coming into his
prime. Currently he is signed through 2015 at roughly $ 8.3 million a
year. Let's say the Yankees don't have to give away the farm system to
make a trade for Upton.The question is what happens next season when
Gardner comes back ? Now the Yankees will have four starting
Ronnier Mustelier
outfielders. Upton, Gardner, Granderson, and Swisher. Or will they ?
Gardner is 28 years old and making $ 2.5 million this year and is
arbitration eligible at the end of the season. Right now Granderson
and Swisher are both 31 years old each is getting paid $ 6 million a
year but both are free agents at the end of the season. They both have
played well since becoming Yankees. Granderson's name was mentioned in
MVP talks last season and Swisher is a fan favorite as well as a
favorite of GM Brian Cashman. It was Swisher's happy go lucky attitude
that loosened up the Yankees clubhouse which helped them win a World
Series in 2009. So what kind of money are they going to ask for once
they hit the open market ? Will the Yankees resign them both ? If they
resign only one of them which one will it be ? So should the Yankees
make a deal for Upton ? I say YES ! Do it ! We can worry about having
too many outfielders during the off season or just let Joe Giradi deal
with it when he has to find equal playing time for everybody next
       We'll see how the Yanks get through the dog days of August.
Stay tuned for more trade rumors or a report on a deal that has been
made, if they do make one. Go Yankees !!!!!!!!!  

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