The New York Yankees made a very surprising choice with the first pick of the Rule 5 Draft.
They chose Jamie Hoffmann of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hoffmann, a former 8th round pick of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, could make the club as a fourth outfielder. Hoffmann seemed to hit about 9-11 homeruns a year, with a solid batting average of .275+ and is known to have pretty good speed. He could steal up to 20 bases a year. Hoffmann is also known as a solid hitter against lefties and a great fielder.
Personally, I would have taken Kroenke now that Coke is gone, but I am not too upset with the selection.
Analysis: I find it very impressive that Yankees keep getting chosen in the draft. It says something about their minor-league system.
Jamie Hoffmann sticks with the Yankees and makes their regular season roster. He is returned in June when the Yankees trade for a veteran version of him.
Zach Kroenke does not make the Arizona Diamondbacks and is returned. He does have a clause where he can become a free agent, but he chooses to go back to the Yankees, as they promise him a spot on the 40-man roster.
Kanekoa Texeira makes the Seattle Mariners and sticks with them for the entire 2009 season.
I love that the Yankees have picked up the lefty centerfielder Curtis Granderson. He seems to be a class act, a good fielder, and a good hitter (though he is terrible against lefty pitching) with speed whose power will be augmented by Yankee Stadium.
Of all the players the Yankees were rumored to be looking at outside of their own club this off season, I thought Granderson would be the best buy. The Yankees gave away a good prospect in Austin Jackson, sending him and lefty Phil Coke to the Tigers. They also shipped off Ian Kennedy to the Diamondbacks to secure the 28 year old Granderson who is a combination of speed, power, and youth that will do some damage in pinstripes. While this was more than I had anticipated the Yankees were going to need to give away, it is not unreasonable and I am fairly confident that Granderson will make it a worthwhile deal.
My prediction is that he hits around .270 with 30 homeruns and 70 RBI’s with 25 steals. I know it is a lofty prediction but it is certainly attainable and expectations are always high in the Yankee Universe.
Check the post below for more analysis of the Granderson trade.
UPDATE: 5:40 PM: Brandon, here! Had my friend edit some pictures and get the traded players in their new teams caps. Little obvious that it was edited, but still, I find them interesting.
The New York Yankees have acquired Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers in a three-team trade.
Here’s the trade:
Yankees Receive: Curtis Granderson (Tigers)
Analysis: Love the move for the Yankees. The Yankees are essentially getting a better version of Jackson and giving up Ian Kennedy, who has been often injured but still has a bright future, and Phil Coke. Coke is not a necessary piece for the Yankees, of whom have Damaso Marte, Mike Dunn and Zach Kroenke.
-Jack Curry has left the NY Times.
-Peter Gammons has left ESPN.
-Ivan Rodriguez has signed with the Washington Nationals.
-The Mariners are “unlikely to get involved” in the Jason Bay sweepstakes.
UPDATE: 3:30 PM: Looks like each team got a fair amount in the trade. Jackson will most likely have a solid MLB career, as long as he can get some of his power back. Kennedy will likely be a 4th starter or 5th starter in the MLB if he can heal from his injuries. Coke will make a good lefty specialist for the Tigers.
As for Granderson, with the short porch in right field, he could hit up to 35 HR. Add about 20-25 SB and 70-80 RBIs, I’ll take it. If Jackson can hit better against lefties (.183 Batting Average, .239 Slugging, .245 On-Base) he can prove to be a nice acquisition.
Don’t forget Granderson hit .302 as recently as ’07 and hit .280 in ’08.
Prediction: Granderson hits .268 with 32 HR and 75 RBI in ’10.
Phil Coke has pitched in 59 games this year, seven more than Mariano Rivera for the team lead. Coke has blown five saves, the next most is one for a combined five pitchers. Coke is 4-3 with a 5.05 ERA following yesterdays horrible outing. Coke does have an impressive .209 Batting Average Against vs. Lefties. Coke is also 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA at home and an 0-2 record with a 7.84 ERA away. The main problem with Coke, however is that he has given up six homeruns to lefty hitters. The Yankees will most likely call-up either Mike Dunn or Zach Kroenke come September, and with Damaso Marte coming back as another lefty he won’t have to pitch as much.
The Royals Designated Ron Mahay for assignment today. I have wanted Mahay on the Yankees for about 3 years now and I haven’t stopped saying that. He has had an off year this year with his 4.79 ERA and 55 hits in 41 innings. Still, he can help the Yankees. Sure the Yankees would have 3 lefty relievers, but he can be a one-year rental for the Yankees. He can help them for the playoff chase and allow the Yankees to keep Zach Kroenke and Mike Dunn in AAA and maybe send them to the Arizona Fall League.
Also, why hasn’t Damaso Marte been placed on waivers yet? He must be healthy to be placed and he is healthy. If someone claimed Marte he could be gone (with his 4 year contract) for nothing OR one small prospect. Then the Yankees could use a combination of Phil Coke, Kroenke, and/or Dunn as their lefty relievers.
Many fans go crazy over the usage of “lefty-specialists” in baseball. This is how pitchers like Mike Stanton and Mike Myers stuck around baseball for so long. While they were great pitchers, they were often used to get certain left handed hitters out and then taken out of the game.
So lets look at certain pitchers in the game today and determine: Do matchups (righty vs. righty lefty vs. lefty etc) mean as much as people think they do?
.222 vs. left
.219 vs. right
Yes, the numbers are better vs. righty hitters. The Yankees do use Coke as a lefty specialist sometimes, but also use him as a set-up man.
.250 vs. left
.161 vs. right
J.P. Howell is not exactly a specialist for the Rays this year, as he has done long-relief and even some closing. Still, the numbers are startling.
.275 vs. left
.227 vs. right
Yes, Scott Downs is a closer on the DL currently, but he has been used before to get lefties out. The numbers once again show that he has an easier time when there is a so-called “mis-match.”
Now lets look at some Yankees pitchers from the right-side. Are they better against the righties or the lefties?
.242 vs. right
.207 vs. left
Aceves is a long-reliever and has been lights out against teams not named Chicago. The stats show he is doing better in mis-match situations.
.324 vs. right
.205 vs. left
Bruney has been, well, horrible this season. After a semi-strong start he has absolutely faltered out of the pen. The numbers say he has still been very good against lefties, though.
.230 vs. right
.170 vs. left
Robertson has been used mostly in the wipe-up or 7th inning roles.
Of course, however you can make the opposite argument, that lefty-specialists DO work out, if you use the right ones.
.159 vs. left
.288 vs. right
.176 vs. left
.255 vs. right
I ask you, though: Bases loaded two-outs 7th inning your team is up 1 run. Would you rather have a lefty-specialist in, or your power set-up man?
In my first segment of 10 questions with, I ask 10 questions to Mike Ashmore, Trenton Thunder beat writer.
1. Out of all the players in AA this year….who has impressed you the
most? Who has dissapointed you the most?
Mike Ashmore: Impressed me the most is probably Ivan Nova or Josh Schmidt. Looking
at his previous numbers, I really wasn’t expecting a lot out of
Nova…and I thought his confidence might be shot from getting knocked
around in big league camp with the Padres. While I don’t think he was
as consistent as he would have liked to have been in Trenton, he did a
lot to improve his stock while he was here.
As for Schmidt, he isn’t a guy who will ever be considered a prospect,
despite the fact he’s always put up numbers. He’s the kind of guy a
lot of fans will ignore because they don’t read about him in the
prospect books and so on…but he’s been unflappable for most of the
season, performing better than the guys with supposedly better stuff.
2. Give us some background info on Josh Schmidt?
MA: Schmidt is a great guy, and it seems you won’t find anyone who will
tell you any different. It’s not uncommon to see him chatting away
with a fan, the grounds crew, a beat writer or anyone he can find.
His engaging personality is very similar to another Californian, Phil
Coke. Throws a mid 80’s fastball, a so-so slider and an absolutely
devastating slow curve. I’ll be very, very curious to see how his
repetoire plays against Triple-A hitters…and I think that chance
will come soon.
3. Give us some info on Zach McAllister?
MA: Z-Mac isn’t really that exciting on or off the field. He’s a quiet
kid in the clubhouse, and doesn’t really blow anyone away on the
mound, nor does he have what you could describe as one standout
offering. But he really pounds the zone, has great command of his
stuff, and flat out knows how to pitch. He’s attracted the interest
of quite a few scouts who have passed through Waterfront Park…
4. If you had to pick one player on the Thunder that will have a long
and successful MLB career who would it be?
MA: It would be hard to bet against Jesus Montero right now. I’m not sure
if that career will come behind the plate, but his bat will take him a
5. After seeing the whole Tony Bernazard and Binghamton Mets story
play out and the Mets be repeatedly chastised for their lack of depth
how do you feel the Yankees are at the same thing? Do you feel they
have good enough depth in the system?
MA: No. They’ve had to dip into the minor league free agent pool and
independent baseball recently. And even with that, some of the
options to be called up aren’t exactly very appealing. It seems that
the position player depth is a bit behind the pitching depth…and
even the pitching depth doesn’t seem to be what it used to.
6. Give us some insight on Jesus Montero?
MA: Has a big body for a 19-year-old…he could stand to improve a bit
behind the plate, but he continually works to do so. It’s not
uncommon to see him working on blocking balls in the bullpen or in the
batting cage. He struggles a bit with offspeed stuff at the plate
sometimes, but overall…the bat is absolutely there. Seems to crush
line drives with the flick of the wrists.
7. Give us the best prospect you’ve seen (thunder or non-thunder) that
has impressed you the most?
MA: Assuming I’m sticking with guys I’ve seen just this year, both Tim
Alderson and Junichi Tazawa (who is on the Redsox AA Affiliate) were both really impressive. Had I seen
Jeanmar Gomez’s perfect game, I’m sure I’d have included him here as
8. Were you surprised when you saw Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Pena
jump from AA to the MLB? Are there any current AA players that you
think can do the same any time soon?
MA: Cervelli didn’t surprise me because they really didn’t have a choice
with the way the 40-man roster was constructed. You can’t argue with
what he did while he was there, but considering the way he was playing
in Trenton, you could make a case that he didn’t exactly earn it,
either. Pena was a surprise just because of the role he was asked to
fill. All he ever really did in Trenton was play shortstop, and there
he was filling at third base for Alex Rodriguez. I was surprised at
how well he handled it.
As far as any of the current Thunder players being able to make the
jump…honestly, I’m not really sure anyone on the current roster is
ready for that right now. I’m sure there are guys who would perform
well if they were given the opportunity…but there isn’t anyone
standing out for me. Maybe Jorge Vazquez? His age and his bat would
make him a candidate.
9. When talking about the minor leagues we always seem to use the word
“potential.” The Yankees may promote Andrew Brackman despite his
horrific numbers in Charleston because of his potential. The Yankees
were so reluctant to promote Pat Venditte because they felt he didn’t
have much potential. I think Josh Schmidt would be a good case in AA.
Can you describe the effect potential has on minor leaguers compared
to actual success?
MA: I don’t know if it’s so much that they didn’t think Venditte had
potential as it was his stuff may not have compared favorably to other
guys in the organization. And a lot of it’s financially related as
well. Look at the investment they’ve made both financially and with a
roster spot they’ve made with Brackman. They have little choice but
to keep throwing him out there, regardless of how he does.
The guy with the better stuff, sometimes regardless of results, will
likely get a look before the guy who’s getting by with average stuff
but is putting up numbers. If you were doing things based off of
numbers, Josh Schmidt and Eric Wordekemper would be in Scranton right
10. What is your favorite story that you’ve had with the Thunder?
MA: This season, probably the Thunder Burger Challenge…it was an
off-beat story and had nothing to do with baseball, which was nice
because I can kind of get tired of writing about it 24/7.
Overall, probably anything regarding last year’s championship. After
they won it on the road in 2007, it was nice to be able to be a part
of it last year and see them win it in front of the home fans.
Thanks again to Mike for answering the questions!